We had the good fortune of connecting with Robyn Shaw, CPA, CFE and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robyn, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
While working for Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office as an Investigative Financial Analyst, I saw too many cases cross my desk of business owners who had employees embezzle from them. I always felt I became involved in these cases too late in the process. I decided to leave the DA’s office and open my firm because I wanted to educate business owners, raise their fraud awareness and prevent their employees from stealing from them. And if a business owner discovered an employee had embezzled, I would help them determine what happened, the amount the employee stole, and provide an organized package to law enforcement to facilitate the movement of their case through the court system.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As a forensic accountant, I work in financial investigations and litigation support. Whenever there is a financial piece to an investigation or case, my services are helpful. I use my skills to follow the money to see where it went. I reconstruct and analyze transactions to tell the story of what took place. I organize, summarize, and make sense of financial information. I support attorneys by providing expert testimony to support my findings. I enjoy helping smaller organizations review or assist in implementing internal controls to help them fight fraud. And finally, I provide educational presentations to raise awareness about fraud and how to fight it. I am passionate about what I do, and I want to help provide answers using my unique skills. I stand apart from most attorneys and traditional CPAs, who charge by the hour, because I use value-based billing. I sell my expertise and not my time. My clients pay one price to give them value and certainty. One of the challenges I continue to face is a misunderstanding about what I do. Most people have their own ideas and although some are correct, most are not. I use my knowledge of accounting, auditing, investigating, and the law as it pertains to what I do to figure out what happened, explain it understandably, and present evidence in a court of law. I am an accountant spy, a money nerd, or a CSI for the numbers. I do not recover people’s money. I figure out where it went, and the attorney is the one that helps recover it. My skills are unlike a traditional CPA, and because of my specialized training, most people cannot effectively do what I do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many amazing things to do and places to eat in Colorado Springs it was hard to choose what to highlight. Day 1 – Hiking in Garden of the Gods among the sandstone rock formations with a chance to run into a herd of bighorn sheep. Relax in Kairos Coffee House and talk about our adventure. Dinner at Roman Villa Pizza. Day 2 – Visit Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs for lunch and high tea. Go window shopping in Old Colorado. Dinner at Bird Dog BBQ. Day 3 – Before driving to the top of Pikes Peak, stop at Monica’s Taco Shop for a breakfast burrito and coffee at Kangaroo Coffee. While driving the Pikes Peak Highway, we will enjoy the scenery. On the way up we will stop and check out the Catamount reservoirs. The previous Summit House used to sell their fresh made donuts which are unique at 14,115 feet. Dinner at Na Rai Thai. Day 4 – Visit the Money Museum. Lunch at Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub. Spend the evening at the Flying W Ranch Chuckwagon Dinner and Western Show. Day 5 –Visit downtown Monument and Palmer Lake. Dinner at La Bella Vita Ristorante Italiano. Day 6 – Breakfast at the New Day Café. Visit the Space Foundation. Lunch at Thai Kitchen by Naya. Dinner at Leon Gessi New York Pizza.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to thank my husband, Jake, for always supporting and encouraging me. I am incredibly grateful to Robyn Cafasso, Gary Schwartz, Stephen Pedneault, and Tracy Coenen, who selflessly offered their advice and time to help me succeed. And I am thankful to The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for providing superior training and networking opportunities.