Understanding processes, performing testing and evaluating risks & controls not only require good communication skills but it also means auditors must be competent note takers. Good auditors must have a well-organized approach to taking, reviewing and refining notes. Some take detailed notes, while others use outlines. Regardless of the method, it is important to take notes consistently and unobtrusively. Any change in note taking may disrupt the process and cause the interviewee to alter his/her responses. The actions taken shortly after the interview are almost as important
Internal Auditing is a profession that is open to quite a few different types of individuals. What I mean by that is, auditors can derive from varied background including accounting, finance, computer science, science, English, literature, biology, chemistry, social services, etc. As a result, it can be difficult to nail down the skills necessary to succeed. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) developed an Internal Auditor
Internal Auditors are charged with evaluating control environments and providing solid conclusions on the effectiveness and efficiency of processes. This requires a substantial amount of observation and inquiry. This means we must ask great questions and be effective listeners. Listening, however, is one of the most
The phrase “it is better to give than to receive” is applicable to most areas of our lives. Studies have shown that those who participate in volunteer activities live better lives. Further, contrary to popular belief, nice guys do not finish last. Acts of kindness are important to build relationships of trust and respect.
I was fortunate to work with a few experienced professionals early in my career who taught me about the power of genuine kindness. I recall
As a kid, I remember my grandfather growing fruits and veggies on a track of land not quite small enough to be a garden but yet not big enough to be a farm. Much of what was grown was for family use. Some was grown to be sold. He used very little automated
I have had the privilege of working for or with some really great Chief Audit Executives over the years. They have taught me many valuable lessons, but one that sticks with me is “Tell them what they need to know.” To take it a little further, this person made me understand that there is nothing to fear as long I operate truthfully and
Every auditor has or will face situations where clients significantly pushback on audit issues. Internal Auditing is an independent and objective function tasked with evaluating management’s risk identification and mitigation strategies. However, when presenting potentially reportable items to management, that objectivity can sometimes disappear as auditors began vigorously
Have you ever had audit clients refer you to or suggest (sometime strongly) that you audit specific areas in the organization? What do you think about this? My thoughts have changed over time.
In the past, I believed that audit clients would provide referrals to “throw other units under the bus” or to get us away from their areas of responsibility. You
Again…better questions to ask your audit clients
I recently wrote an article titled “What Keeps You Up At Night…Who Cares! 6 Better Questions to Ask Audit Clients”. The major premise stressed the fact that auditors truly need to ask the questions they really want answered. Asking a client “What keeps you up at night” is terrible, for one, because
Anyone providing products or services to customers should want to know what customers think about the product/services. Internal Auditors typically solicit feedback through client satisfaction surveys. There are a variety of ways to solicit opinions including live interviews and questionnaires. Successful questionnaires will help audit functions determine how well they are achieving goals and objectives. Many auditor simply copy surveys from other departments. I believe auditors must create surveys specifically for their operating environment. Successful surveys must consider the Stakeholders, the Questions and the Re
The Importance of Testing Estimates and Assumptions
Contrary to belief, accounting is not a field that is black and white in application. Organizations are allowed to “estimate” certain items or mark others to fair market value or depreciate some in a manner of their choosing until the book value reaches zero. Each of these has some sort of effect on income statements and balances sheets. In theory, devious organizations can manipulate these items to their benefit. As part of integrated internal audit engagements (i.e. financial, operational, information technology & compliance), it is beneficial for