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Kelly Richmond Pope: Forensic Accounting Expert and Educator

Theo Moret

2 May, 2024

3 min read

Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope is a powerhouse in the realm of forensic accounting and white-collar crime research. An award-winning educator and documentary filmmaker, Pope has made substantial contributions to illuminating the world of financial deception.

Meet Kelly Richmond Pope, a Champion of Business Ethics

Kelly Richmond Pope is at the forefront of both managerial and forensic accounting education. With academic roots at North Carolina A&T State University and Virginia Tech, Pope is unwavering in her mission to spread awareness about financial fraud mechanisms and how to detect them.

Kelly’s Career Highlights

Dr. Kelly Pope's journey through the trillion-dollar fraud industry has cemented her reputation as a nationally recognized expert. As a licensed certified public accountant, her foundations in forensic accounting practice have enabled her to teach forensic accounting with unparalleled depth and insight.

  • North Carolina A&T State University: Pope began her academic journey here, earning a Bachelor of Science in financial accounting.
  • Virginia Tech: Advancing her expertise, Pope received both her master's in accountancy and doctorate in accounting.
  • DePaul University: Earning the title of the Dr. Barry Jay Epstein Endowed Professor, Pope champions the cause of informing and training the next generation about the depths of the fraud industry.
  • Authorship: Pope penned "Fool Me Once", a book released by Harvard Business Review Press, offering readers a comprehensive look into real-life fraudulent practices, detailed cases from the industry, and undisclosed mechanisms behind major financial deceptions.

Kelly's Pioneering Endeavors

From her award-winning documentary to behavioral research, Kelly Pope has continually pushed boundaries in the realms of forensic and managerial accounting. Her deep dives into the largest municipal fraud cases offer invaluable insights into the very fabric of corporate culture and ethical leadership.

  • Pope's insight and analysis are showcased in her documentary, "All the Queen's Horses", which investigates the intricacies of a major municipal fraud case in American history.
  • Through her TED Talk, "How Whistle-blowers Shape History", Pope enlightens over 1.6 million viewers about the importance and impact of whistle-blowers.
  • Platforms like CNBC, the BBC, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post often feature Pope for her insights on fraud, risk, and ethical practices.

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Kelly Richmond Pope’s Noteworthy Achievements

Kelly's numerous accomplishments, ranging from recognition by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to the HBO Spotlight Award, highlight her profound influence on the industry.

  • AICPA Recognition: Dr. Pope was hailed among the top 25 most influential women in accounting by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the CPA Practice Advisor in 2020.
  • Work in Documentary Film: As the creative force behind the documentary "All the Queen's Horses", Kelly showcased significant white-collar crimes, earning her widespread acclaim and awards.
  • Community Impact: Pope's association with esteemed organizations, such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Illinois CPA Society, showcases her commitment to community and ethical leadership.
Kelly Richmond Pope teaching her Augment class.

3 Highlights from Kelly Richmond Pope's Augment Class

  1. On the Meaning of Accounting: “So accounting is … the ability to understand the numbers. And I'm going to keep it really simple — there are so many transactions that happen in our lives, and we often don't think about how those transactions actually happened. And so I do … You might say how much does something cost — I think about how something is measured. How does it roll into the financial statements? How does an investor think about how this number looks in a sea of all other numbers?”
  2. On the Importance of Accounting: “You can't name any business on the planet that doesn't use accounting, not one. And so it's how businesses speak to each other. It's how businesses compare each other to each other. It's how investors look at, do I want to make an investment? How a bank decides, ‘Do I want to lend money to a company?’ They look to the accounting, they look to understand those numbers, and you want to be able to understand basic understanding of those transactions that made those numbers.”
  3. On Her Goal for Her Students: “So my goal for you is to be able to read a financial statement. Not prepare one, that's what my job is, but really for you to feel comfortable reading one. Whether you are an investor, whether you are an employee, whether you are an entrepreneur, you'll be able to feel comfortable when you see these words and the numbers. For some odd reason, people get nervous when you say the word ‘accounting.’ Don't worry, we're going to make it easy.”
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