It sounds like they accidently interviewed me instead of Tracy.

Goodness gracious.  I don’t know where to begin with this article.  Ok here goes….

First of all, here’s the link so you can see that this is ACTUALLY a serious article:

http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2007/06/11/smallb1.html?page=1

You have to sign up or something to see the whole thing, but don’t worry about doing all that.  Someone posted the entire article on the discussion board.  There is a nice picture of Tracy in front of her computer.  I like to see pictures of animals in their natural habitat.  I don’t want to scare the newbies away and make Tracy cry, but if you guys want to check it out and play an impromptu game of “Caption that Photo” go right ahead.

Here is the full article:

Tracy Coenen always pictured herself working in the criminal justice field, perhaps as a prison warden. Then, in her sophomore year studying criminology at Marquette University, she took a course on financial crime investigations and was hooked.

She’d always been strong in math, and as a child loved to ask questions. Seven years ago she combined those two loves and formed Sequence Inc., Milwaukee, which provides forensic accounting services to attorneys and their clients.

Now Coenen is building a strong national reputation in the industry and is expanding her client base to include investors and analysts, as well as clients on the East and West coasts. She uses the Internet, speaking engagements, publishing and advertising to gain name recognition. She also is writing a book on fraud that is expected to come out March 2008.

“My goal is if people hear fraud, they’d think of Tracy,” she said.

Coenen worked as a probation officer, for the Internal Revenue Service, for accounting firm Arthur Andersen as an auditor and for forensic accounting firm Peters & Associates, Milwaukee, before starting Sequence.

Although she learned a great deal from her early jobs, Coenen said after several years in the corporate world, she realized it would be better to work for herself.

“I wasn’t meant to be anyone’s employee,” she said.

When Coenen started Sequence in 2000, she had no money and no clients. Her start-up costs were minimal — she bought a laptop computer and a copy machine. She worked out of her home, using a post office box as the company’s address.

She worked at a temporary agency, did people’s taxes and taught accounting courses at Bryant & Stratton College, Milwaukee, and Concordia University, Mequon, to make ends meet while she got the business going. She was able to give up temping after about five months.

Coenen opened a Chicago office in 2005, and she’s worked on six to eight cases for clients there.

 In Sequence’s early days, Coenen spent most of her time networking. She attended local chambers of commerce meetings, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce meetings and bar association meetings to build clientele.

Now, most of her business comes from referrals. She also speaks at conferences around the country, has a blog and contributes to numerous industry publications to drum up business. She spends about $20,000 a year advertising in trade publications in Milwaukee and Chicago.
Creating perception

One early issue Coenen faced was the perception of being a one-person small business. Because many of the cases Coenen takes can go on for a year or more, clients needed confidence that Sequence would still exist.

Having a post office box rather than a physical office hindered the business’ growth somewhat, Coenen said. She moved to an office in Milwaukee’s 3rd Ward in 2002.

“That made a huge difference,” she said. “I was now a real business. I became smarter in everyone else’s eyes.”

Sequence had about five or six cases during its first year. That’s grown to between 15 and 20 cases, Coenen said. The firm’s revenue also has had continued double-digit growth. Coenen expects to see 10 percent to 20 percent growth in revenue this year.

Luke Chiarelli, an attorney at Mawicke & Goisman S.C., Milwaukee, has worked with Coenen several times over the last six years. He found her through word of mouth, talking with former Arthur Andersen colleagues.

Chiarelli said he chose Coenen because he was impressed with her strategy for handling the case, which involved re-creating a client’s tax records from scratch because the originals had been destroyed over the years. He also was impressed with her ability to explain her findings in a way that could be understood.

“If you have someone who has some common sense who can explain why the answer is given a certain way, that’s a true value,” he said. “She’s not hamstrung by past practices, she’s very creative.”
Business scandals

Setting up shop just a year before the collapse of Enron and scandals at other large firms such as Tyco and WorldCom helped Coenen’s business, Chiarelli said. Those scandals also made the business community more aware of the chance for fraud, which means more businesses will be looking for the services Sequence provides, he said.

“This will never go out of style,” Chiarelli said. “Identical stuff happens at the two-person business. When they fail, someone wants to know why, and Tracy has a job forever.”

Although Coenen is working to expand her clientele and gain more of a national reputation, she still wants to remain small. She has no employees, and plans to keep it that way. She had hired several administrative personnel early on, but realized she didn’t want the responsibility of having employees.

Now that she’s established, Coenen can be selective about the cases she takes, which makes it easier to balance a diverse client list spread across the country.

“I really enjoy what I do,” she said. “It can be a grind, but what I really like is finding that smoking gun, that piece that ties it all together. My work is so fun, it’s not really work.”

SEQUENCE INC.

Owner: Tracy Coenen
Year founded: 2000
Locations: 316 N. Milwaukee St., Suite 16, Milwaukee; second office in Chicago
Web site: www.sequence-inc.com
Annual revenue: Undisclosed
Business plan: Provide forensic accounting services to attorneys and their clients. Services include fraud detection and investigation, financial analysis, expert witness testimony, and damage calculations.
Growth plan: To continue to grow revenue with specialized projects, such as working with investors or analysts, while authoring more books and doing more public speaking.

LESSONS LEARNED

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken so far? “Opening my Chicago office and committing the budget for it, without knowing how well I’d be able to capture new clients.”
What is your greatest business challenge? “Finding the time to do all the things I want to do. Between investigations, speaking engagements, writing articles for professional journals, and writing a book, it’s hard to squeeze it all in.”
What is your goal yet to be achieved? “Hosting a television show about fraud.”
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned? “Taking time off is critical to my success. When I allow myself free time, I come back to work refreshed and excited.”
What was your smartest move? “Deciding that I didn’t want employees and staying true to that.”

Answers by Tracy Coenen

I was completely speechless when I read this.  Did she actually say, “My goal is if people hear fraud, they’d think of Tracy”?  Come on.   She didn’t say that. 

I also enjoyed the fact that she admitted to not wanting to be an employee and also not wanting employees of her own.  Tracy’s a Lone Wolf like Squiggy on Laverne and Shirley.  She must really love people. 

There are just so MANY gems in this one.   Go ahead and peruse it at your leisure. 

17 Comments »

  1. Yup said

    “always pictured herself working in the criminal justice field, perhaps as a prison warden.”

    she’s a lesbo. At least that explains how she became infatuated with Mary Kay. 😛 kinky

  2. You Ain'T No DaIsY said

    my fave is the goals part:
    “i want to host a television show about fraud”

    I think I almost busted a gut there.

  3. No, no, this has to be the gem: “Annual revenue: Undisclosed”

    I’m sorry, but isn’t she the twat who insists that each and every “kaybot”, from IBC to NSD publish their tax returns, and make up a little song to go with? Oh, no, wait. That’s the *other* Tracy Coenen.

  4. Me said

    Duh, you beat me to the punch! Thanks for posting this! I, too, laughed out loud with the “think of fraud, think of Tracy” line. Oh yes, don’t we all??!! Others have found the problems with this that I did–no income disclosure, not someone else’s employee, doesn’t have employees of her own. I would venture to say it is because she cannot afford them.

    The speaking engagements have dwindled to nothing. I would imagine that Tracy crusaded the Biz Journal to do this article since PT is slacking off. Odd that it didn’t mention anything about her “public service” blog or her investigation of MLMs, isn’t it? Nothing about Mary Kay or Usana. If they are truly so important to her, would she not have mentioned them? It seems that the Biz Journal is not aware of these activities….

    Another side-splitter was this: “What is your greatest business challenge? ‘Finding the time to do all the things I want to do. Between investigations, speaking engagements, writing articles for professional journals, and writing a book, it’s hard to squeeze it all in.'” Nothing about blogging! With all the blogging she does, no wonder she has a hard time squeezing it all in!!

    I don’t know if anyone remembers that I posted a while back that the Chicago office is actually someone else’s and she utilizes a cell phone for the phone number there. The occupants of her Chicago office address tell me they only forward her (small amount of) mail to her. Wonder how big THAT budget needs to be?

    Duh, you were smart not to post the picture…that would get you a letter from an attorney. Even though her pictures are on public websites, she doesn’t like it when others pick them off those sites and use them. (sigh) Another Tracy double standard.

  5. Dana said

    Tracy Coenen …“My goal is if people hear fraud, they’d think of Tracy.”

    Hehe….. that’s pretty good.

    She looks like a drag queen in that picture.

  6. New To Pink said

    “My goal is if people hear fraud, they’d think of Tracy,” she said. —

    Yep we think of Tracy when we hear the word fraud, but it’s not thinking of her in the way she’d hoped….it’s more like we think she is the fraud….

    “What is the biggest risk you’ve taken so far? “Opening my Chicago office and committing the budget for it, without knowing how well I’d be able to capture new clients.”” —

    No she is not worried about the risk/money, she has all her PT cronies donating $$ to her cause and getting paid for her per click ads…..

    “What is your greatest business challenge? “Finding the time to do all the things I want to do. Between investigations, speaking engagements, writing articles for professional journals, and writing a book, it’s hard to squeeze it all in.”” —

    Hard to squeeze it all in around her posting on PT under numerous names and banning people all the time…

    “What is your goal yet to be achieved? “Hosting a television show about fraud.”” —

    Oh puhleese NO! My eyes, my eyes!

  7. LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    So that’s what she looks like when she blogs and hacks all day.

  8. She Who Must Not Be Named said

    PTCrackkills – I think when she is hacking she has a sly grin across her face…

  9. I LOVE CATS said

    Unbelievable.

    In a weird twisted sort of way I’m actually kind of proud of her for CONTINUING to be such an egomaniac despite the fact that she KNOWS we all KNOW that she’s a complete lunatic. We’re talking some serious narcissism here, folks. She takes herself waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. This is just too damn funny.

    Now, I’m going to say what you ALL were thinking. Tracy is FAT. Blogging all day does not become her. Now, her face is kind of cute. And her hair color is attractive. But she might want to lay off the Cheetos if she’s hoping to attract business. Gawd, no one likes a fat fraud investigator. Absolutely no one!!! Sheesh, we all know that already!

  10. Duh said

    Aw, meanie!

    I think it’s funny that Tracy won’t let anyone post her picture, but she posts all those pics from the Mary Kay girls.

    I should post it and then post the attorney’s letter to show all the PTer’s what a double standard she has.

  11. CatsRUs said

    Smoke n mirrors…..smoke n mirrors.

  12. Meow Mix said

    You know, I’ve thrown up in my mouth a few times this week. It must be a record.

    I won’t make any comments about Tracy’s weight because even I won’t be that mean. I will say that the picture was certainly not flattering.

    I thought it was very interesting that she did not include her income. Isn’t that what she is always demanding from MK people? A statement of their income? And she’s not disclosing her? Me thinksy she may not be making too much money.

    Oh…one more thing. In her “spare time” she spends ALL her time doing IP banning and such. How could she possibly have spare time when she must be sitting infront of her computer 24/7 banning people and harrassing them.

    ….does that mean she wears Depends…so she can just piss right there at her desk?

    meow

  13. I LOVE CATS said

    Aw gee, I was mean about the fat comment. I admit it!!!

    Meow Mix, I almost just peed my pants with your Depends comment. What do Tracy and insane stalker-type astronauts have in common????

  14. CatsRUs are you trying to steal my Smoke n mirrors line? 😛

    ROFLMAO about Depends, MeowMix. Maybe you could show her how to set up a cat box like yours right next to her desk. Then, she would just have to scoop a few times a week.

  15. Meow Mix said

    A cat box would required LEAVING the computer desk to take a shit. That’s why using Depends would be so much more efficient!

    bitches.

    meow

  16. Nah, she could just lift her leg like all the other bitches do.

  17. Meow Mix said

    Yeah but you can’t lift your leg to SHIT. I mean that would risk getting shit all over the place. Hmm… I could be wrong about this one. Maybe in addition to her obvious skills at internet FRAUD, manipulation and harassment, maybe she got skill with shiting and pissing at an angle?

    bitches

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