An interview with Juan Carlos Venegas, author of Becoming an Expert Witness Part 2
6. What’s hot in the finance industry at the moment?
As a counter fraud specialist I must say ‘Fraud’. You can find headlines about it around the world. In some cases it’s the CEOs who are to blame. There are cases of VAT and Tax Fraud, Insurance Fraud. With the level of pressure the current climate has already and continues to create it is a key factor in the behavior of employees and business owners who grab extra cash in any possible way.
7. Why is this important?
It is affecting both the private and the public sector and huge amounts of money get lost, which prevents economies from growing. The cost of fraud in the public sector alone is estimated to be around £2bn. Fraud is a serious threat to the economy, and the lack of confidence in banks and the financial institutions is only increasing that threat.
8. What benefits would people get from learning about it?
Awareness helps people understand the problems and the issues and helps prevent it from happening in the future, or at least mitigates it.
9. What thoughts do you have on what it is to be an accountant/finance professional today?
Being an accountant today is more than ever before about safeguarding people’s money and assets. It is about doing a good job at a fair or low price. Client satisfaction is at an all time low and clients are not prepared to put up with disinterested accountants any longer. Clients want results and also protection for their assets. Clients are more selective when looking for an accountant and they bring their own terms and conditions to the table. If they have had bad experiences in the past they will put more pressure on you when you’re doing your job as they are now wiser and care more about their businesses, as they don’t want to pay unnecessary taxes.
10. Would you be able to share any general thoughts you have on the accounting/finance industry?
It is a very competitive industry where some are prepared to lower their fees in order to get more clients. I believe professionalism and the quality of work is what is important and this doesn’t always sit well with a reduction of fees. A good job needs to be valued at the right price. If a low fee is the only motive, the service may suffer sooner or later.
There should be more interaction within the industry and more co-operation among the accounting professionals. It’s not just about doing accounts if you are in practice and it is not just about focusing on reporting and regulations if you are in industry. It is the benefit that the client or the company receives in exchange for having a good professional doing work for them that is key.
11. What motivates you to be an author?
It is something I always wanted to do. One motivation is to be known and recognized, but another is the opportunity to share with others what I know in a way I feel is appropriate and reflects my style and approach.
Being an author is also a challenge as it requires you not only to have the knowledge, experience and expertise, but also to have the capability to transmit and share this with others, i.e. being able to communicate through written words. You also have to research and verify the accuracy of your statements and opinions, to keep yourself up to date and to be able to express yourself in an appropriate manner.