Jennifer Stone BS'01
Manager, Forensic Services, KPMG LLP
“Every day is different. At any given time, I may get a call saying, ‘We’ve got an investigation starting, and we need you on a plane today.’”
Jennifer Stone is part accountant, part investigator. A forensic services manager at KPMG, she leads fraud and misconduct investigations for corporate clients. Sometimes Stone and her team can inform the client’s personnel of an investigation. Other times, their work is more confidential and can’t be disclosed.
Stone’s interests revealed themselves quickly when she came to Kelley as a direct-admit freshman. “As I started taking the introductory classes, I started thinking that accounting would be a great background to have. The underlying reason for any business is to make money, so having an accounting background would help me better understand business decisions.” She also chose a second major, legal studies.
“Kelley really focuses on giving you skills for the real world,” says Stone, who made numerous presentations and worked on several group projects in her classes. “Teamwork was a critical element of the Kelley program. Any successful team, be it at Kelley or in the business world, has to be able to work together.”
She got her first taste of public accounting the summer after her junior year. She had on-campus interviews with five accounting firms through Undergraduate Career Services and accepted an audit internship that led to a full-time job offer. After graduation, she worked in audit for four years in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., learning the “professional skepticism”—the need to verify clients’ statements with corroborating evidence—that is necessary in the accounting field.
In 2005 Stone joined KPMG and began a career in forensic services, an area that has grown significantly as companies have faced increased governmental and public scrutiny. She likes the investigative aspect of her job. “As we get deeper into an investigation, the facts change and it gets more challenging. I really like that,” she says.
Her team might have to review audit documents or correspondence to figure out what a client knew and when. They may need to pull together KPMG experts to testify in court, or write a report for a judge’s consideration in a ruling. “Every day is different. When you start an engagement, you never know exactly what to expect,” she says. “At any given time, I may get a call saying, ‘We’ve got an investigation starting, and we need you on a plane today.’ ”
As a manager, Stone oversees teams ranging in size from 3 to 15, which sometimes include team members in other offices. She’s constantly interacting with her staff and the partner she reports to. “So much of what we do is problem solving, and almost always it’s a collective thought process and brainstorming,” she says. “There’s a lot of communication among all levels of the team as to the best way we can get the job done.”
Stone does a lot of collegiate recruiting for KPMG and observes a distinct difference between Kelley students and other business students. “In some of the other programs out there, students are more focused on a textbook. At Kelley, we didn’t go into the classroom and reiterate what was in the textbook. Almost all the classes were about discussing, doing case studies, and applying what we learned.”
Hobbies: Reading mysteries, cooking, camping, backpacking, exercising
Favorite mysteries: Trace by Patricia Cornwell, 1st to Die by James Patterson
Favorite IU hangout: “I loved the arboretum. Particularly in the spring, I really enjoyed going over there with a book and just relaxing.”
Advice for students: “There are so many different opportunities at IU and the Kelley School, in and outside the classroom, that will prepare you for life after graduation. Take advantage of them. Within Kelley, there are student organizations that will give you different skills and help you network. Go listen to speakers from different companies talk about what they do—it helped me decide on my majors.”