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CSI with Calculators

On the job with Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co.'s Kelsey Griffin

Kelsey Griffin is a forensic CPA and certified fraud examiner with Markham
 Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., a Fort
 Myers accounting and consulting firm.
 She investigates and analyzes business dealings that may be in disputeor in litigation. A Southwest Florida native, Griffin is passionate about giving back to her community. She serves on the board of directors for the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and is the founding co-chair of the Chamber’s Leadership NEXT committee, which provides educational programming and professional networking opportunities to the area’s young professionals and advancing business leaders. Griffin is a graduate of the University of South Florida’s Honors College and College of Business, with a dual major in accounting and management, as well as Florida Gulf Coast University, where she earned her master’s degree in accounting and taxation. In her free time, she enjoys boating, skeet shooting, and other outdoor fun with her husband, Chris, and their chocolate Lab, Gauge.

What made you want to get into forensic accounting?

I did a three-year engineering program in high school, and I realized that I could never sit at a computer all day and do that. Then my mom saw something on the news about forensic accounting and how it’s supposed to be a top job for engineers. I found out that Markham and Norton had internships in it.

One day I went after school to meet everyone on their team. And I saw that they had so much fun! They were actually excited to talk to me about their jobs. And I just thought, “This is so much better than doing tax returns.” We joke that it’s like CSI with calculators.

What’s been one of your most interesting cases?

Some of the most fun stuff I do is investigating embezzlements. It’s unfortunate for the company, but I personally think it’s fun because I really get to come in at the ground level. I start by collecting information and interviewing different players in the company. Then we see if the numbers match up with the story they told us. You’ve got to be able to read people.

Have the skills from your career helped you outside of your job?

Definitely. It’s helped give me the tools to interact with a lot of different types of people who are not like me. I’ve learned how to be direct, and I don’t need a lot of direction to accomplish something. That’s really helpful with business development in general.

What’s a piece of financial advice that you’d give to local business owners?

I’ll stress that duties should be segregated. In terms of bad behavior in business, it’s important that owners figure out a way to separate cash handling, record keeping and authorizations. It’s not good for someone
to have their hands in all of those responsibilities at the same time. And traditional accountants can help business owners handle that, so they can avoid becoming fraud victims.

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