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Non-Confrontational Interviewing Techniques for Auditors and Inspectors

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Date(s): Mar 28, 2018 - Mar 29, 2018
Time: 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Registration Fee: $429.00
Cancellation Date: Mar 21, 2018
City: Austin

Course Description

The 2-day Wicklander-Zulawski Seminar on Interviewing Techniques for Auditors and Inspectors provides the auditor, financial analyst, forensic accountant or inspector with tools to conduct more effective interviews. The course is designed to enhance interviewing skills to better prevent and detect fraud. Instruction consists of behavioral analysis, non-confrontational interview techniques, fraud indicators, methods to assess fraud vulnerability, techniques to overcome objections, and how to elicit relevant information and actionable intelligence. This course was originally developed for the FLETC-based Inspector General Criminal Investigator Academy and presented 3-4 times annually for groups of auditors and accountants associated with local, state and federal Inspector General Offices throughout the United States.

Potential CPE Credits: 16.0
Govt Hours: This class meets 16.0 hours of the 24-hour requirement for governmental CPE under Government Auditing Standards (yellow book), in most cases.
Technical Hours: This class meets 16.0 CPE credits of technical training in compliance with Texas Admin. Code Rule 523.102.

Instruction Type: Classroom
Experience Level: ALL
Category: Auditing

Course Objectives


Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

·         Consider and apply proper room setting for the interview.

·         Plan and adapt their interviewing approach according to the individuals, circumstances, and stakes involved.

·         Assess verbal and non-verbal behavior and become more effective at obtaining information in person and over the telephone.

·         Ask specific structured non-accusatory and non-threatening questions that are uniquely designed to identify indicators of fraud.

·         Manage conversational interviews that flow naturally without undermining the overall objective of the audit.

·         Elicit relevant information and actionable intelligence.

·         Deal with the most common interview responses and obstacles to effectively and efficiently uncover the evidence that leads to truth and accountability.

·         Overcome resistance, offer rationalizations, detect deception, and evaluate truthfulness.

·         Understand and recognize the proper form and content of a subject’s statement.


ROOM SETTING:  The ideal room setting for both the interviewer and the person being questioned will be discussed. The participants will learn how the settings can increase an interviewer’s effectiveness.

INTERPRETATION OF VERBAL AND PHYSICAL BEHAVIOR:  Evaluation of verbal and physical behavior as they relate to truth and deception.  The purpose is to differentiate between the behavior of typically truthful and untruthful individuals and apply this to interviews and interrogation.

THE PARTICIPATORY INTERVIEW:  The Participatory approach invites the subject to participate in a decision-making process leading to an admission. It allows suspects an opportunity to define the boundaries of their actions or to present an alibi before an accusation is made by the interviewer. This effectively commits the suspect into an alibi, story or decision-making process with which he must live and limits his ability to explain away any incriminating evidence.

FACT-FINDING INTERVIEWING:  The basis for a fact-finding interview is to listen carefully to the words the subject uses to determine when he is offering an assumption, indicating a bias or stating a qualifier or fact. The instructor will cover the importance of observing behavior while conducting the interview. The 13 components of the structure of the interview will be discussed in detail.

OVERVIEW OF THE WZ NON-CONFRONTATIONAL APPROACH:  Overview of the direct positive confrontational approach leading to an emotional decision to confess, followed by the WZ Non-Confrontational Method.  This method is a softer more conversational approach to the interrogation resulting in fewer denials and objections, and thereby eliminating conflict suspect to admit their involvement in a crime rather than deny.  Since there are seamless fewer denials, the development of the suspect’s confession about other illegal acts is relatively seamless.  With the diversity of the suspects that law enforcement personnel face on a daily basis, it is important to have different approaches to utilize.

RATIONALIZATIONS:  Showing understanding during an interview, the interviewer uses a one-sided discussion that provides the subject with reasons or excuses to minimize the seriousness of the incident or consequences of making an admission.

DENIALS – EMPHATIC AND EXPLANATORY:  A discussion on the types of denials, how to recognize them and how to handle each type. This segment also covers backing out of an interrogation and how to handle uncooperative or hostile subjects.

OBTAINING THE ADMISSION – ASSUMPTIVE QUESTIONING:  Using a transitional statement followed by assumptive questions, either soft accusation or choice, to avoid denials and confrontational and obtain an admission.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE ADMISSION:  Substantiation of the suspect's admission and expansion into other areas of dishonesty at the agency is important when resolving a case. Concentration in this phase of the course is devoted to techniques enabling the investigator to identify the suspect's total involvement in dishonesty.

ELEMENTS OF WRITTEN AND FORMAL STATEMENTS:  This section deals with the format and content of the written statement with discussion of each element of the statement with numerous examples.


No prerequisites required.


Brett Ward

Brett L. Ward, CFI is Vice President of Client Relations for Wicklander-Zulawski who has led over 850 seminars on Interview & Interrogation Techniques for private, law enforcement and government entities. Brett has also conducted hundreds of investigations throughout the United States for both the public and private sectors. Brett is a frequently requested speaker at several national organizations' annual meetings including the National Retail Federation (NRF), American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS), Eye for Retail – Europe, and multiple Labor & Employment Conferences - HR (SHRM). He has extensive training in the government sector including such clients as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Brett began his career in corporate investigations in 1988 with the former May Company - Foley's Division. He held multiple positions throughout his tenure including Area Investigator and Corporate Investigations. He was promoted to Regional Investigations Director over multiple states in 1996 before joining Wicklander-Zulawski in April of 1998. He currently runs the Private Division and is responsible for 240 clients and 150 contract and open registration programs annually. Brett graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with a BS degree in Finance - Business Administration. Brett currently lives in Houston, Texas.

Additional Information

TAC Rule 523.142(g) requires the CPE Sponsor to monitor individual attendance and assign the correct number of CPE credits. Participants will be asked to document their time of arrival and departure in compliance with this Rule. Additionally, attendance will be monitored throughout the day and CPE certificates will reflect actual attendance of each participant.

If you are making travel plans to come to Austin, we recommend making "refundable" air and hotel reservations or waiting until 14 days before the class to actually book your reservations. Courses are occasionally canceled or rescheduled due to low enrollment. We determine whether a course has enough participants 16 days prior to the course date. If we cancel or reschedule, we will email the participant and his or her billing contact no later than 14 days before the original class date.

The course coordinator will contact you with parking information. Handicapped parking is free at the meters around the downtown area.

Vending machines with Coca-Cola products and various snack items are available. There is also a refrigerator and microwave in our coffee bar area. Feel free to bring in your own drinks and food if you prefer.

You might want to bring a light sweater or jacket, as room temperatures vary.

To see answers to our Frequently Asked Questions, visit

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