Small Business Times
The Small Business Times interviews forensic accountant and fraud investigator Tracy Coenen about her firm, Sequence Inc.
Industry: Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
Number of employees: 1 forensic accountant, 2 part-time clerical
Education: Honors Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Law Studies, Marquette University; Master of Business Administration, Marquette University
Family: Single; proud aunt of eight month old Maxwell, who is sporting his first tooth.
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
We’ve added a new service that leverages everything we’ve learned about fraud over the last ten years. Our FraudForce program helps middle market companies combat fraud through company-wide education, active investigations, and proactive prevention techniques. Few middle market companies have fraud experts on staff, so this offers them an opportunity to tap into our expertise to reduce internal fraud, and ultimately increase their bottom line.
What’s new at your company?
I opened a Chicago office in February to take advantage of contacts and opportunities in that market. We’re already realizing a return on that investment, and we’re very excited about upcoming projects.
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
I made the decision several years ago that I would run my firm solo. Sometimes it’s challenging to balance my workload, but the decision is the right one for me. It allows me to focus on what I love to do (fraud stuff), rather then on managing employees. This has been a great selling tool, as my clients are assured of having their project completed by a highly qualified professional, rather than a beginner who is still learning the ropes.
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
Our work has lots of peaks and valleys, and they are fairly difficult to predict. It is always a challenge to manage the workload. The peaks give me a huge adrenaline rush, and the valleys are an opportunity to enjoy some free time, so I look forward to both.
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
Fraud is the hot topic internationally! Companies in Milwaukee have really impressed me with their willingness to be proactive in the fight against fraud. They are going above and beyond the regulations by contracting with forensic accountants to implement strategies that provide better protection against fraud. That is good business sense!
Do you have a business mantra?
Above all, maintain your loyalty and your integrity.
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
I admire young entrepreneurs who are willing to do things differently, from a different concept, to a different way of running their businesses. I try to stay true to my core values, and I admire anyone who does the same.
What was the best advice you ever received?
“Show up on time. Do what you say. Finish what you start. Say please and thank you.” (Dan Sullivan, founder of The Strategic Coach)
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
I laugh at myself daily, so it’s hard to narrow it down to one incident. Sometimes I think these things happen only to me! I was at a client site one morning, and I bent over to pick up a briefcase. The entire back of my skirt ripped at the seam, and I ended up stapling it shut so I could spend the rest of the day with the client.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Attend Green Bay Packers games, listen to music, travel, and eat ethnic foods. I cherish my free time, and try to make the most of each free day.