Internal Audit Leaders Must Be Readers (part 2 of 3)

In a recent article titled Internal Audit Leaders Must Be Readers (part 1 of 3), I discussed the many benefits of reading including increased intelligence, improved communication skills and stress relief.

None can deny the positive impact of reading. Time is probably one of the biggest obstacles to more and better reading. Before the digital revolution, it was necessary to subscribe to many different publications and hope that at least one contained enough items of interest to warrant your time and monetary investment. Thanks to modern technology, there are tools and services that allow you to find, store, sort and filter content for immediate online viewing or later perusal. This article is part 2 of a 3 part series discussing tools to help you become more efficient readers. So, without further ado, the tools:

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Risky Business as Usual

Risk! Auditors are constantly addressing this four letter word. There are unrelenting attempt to better identify, assess and report risks. However, many auditors tend to allocate audit efforts and resources to and concentrate on negative risk impacts. In the planning phase, risks assessments center around negative outcomes. Audit testing is designed to determine

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What is the Best Interview/Note Taking Style for Internal Auditors? (Part 2 of 2)

In a recent article, I asked “What is the Best Interview/Note Taking Style for Internal Auditors?” This was part one of a two part series where I introduced 3 interview and 2 note taking techniques. Many of you responded to the polling questions asking about your favorite technique. Several of you posted responses in LinkedIn groups. Further, many of you sent nice emails (I like and respond to emails). Newsletter subscribers received two additional tips in the December issue. If you missed part one, read it here (What is the Best Interview/Note Taking Style for Internal Auditors?)

In this article, I would like to introduce/review a tool that can increase note taking efficiency. The typical

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3 Keys to Being a Top Performing Auditor

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

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Are You Auditing Social Media Risks?

Social media is a dominate customer engagement tool. It presents great opportunities for organizations. But with these great opportunities come great risks. I recently led a webinar about social media risks, remedies and governance. I believe social media has a huge impact on financial statements, compliance, and reputation. The slide deck below is

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Are You Telling Audit Clients What They Want To Know OR What They Need To Know?

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

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What do Internal Auditors & Doctors have in common?

When we reach certain ages and stages in life, it is customary to have specific medical checkups to provide reasonable assurance that we are in good health. Occasionally, there are issues that require follow up in the form of preventive maintenance or corrective action. For example, if your cholesterol numbers are creeping up, she may suggest foods that can naturally stabilize it. Or if the

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When 1 + 1 = 3…Testing Estimates and Assumptions

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

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An Amazonian Lesson on Third Party Provider Management Risks (part 1 of 2)

We have all heard the terms outsource and co-source. In its basic form, the words mean that organizations have entrusted parts of their operational processes to others. Sometimes this is done to save money while in other instances it allows organizations to tap into a resource of experts that they may not otherwise have exposure to. Either way, in this marriage of sorts, it is important to understand

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What is the Best Interview/Note Taking Style for Internal Auditors? (Part 1 of 2)

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

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How do you describe what you do to friends and family not familiar with the audit profession? (part 1)

The internal audit profession is comprised of Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Information Technology professionals, engineers, lawyers, nurses (remember the medical auditors) and more. In general, we ensure risks are appropriately mitigated. But how would you explain what you do to your grandmother. Here’s what I told mine:

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Small Acts of Kindness Work Wonders with Audit Clients

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

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What to do when audit clients disagree with you!

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

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How Happy Are Your Audit Clients? Ask Them!

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

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So You Have an Audit Function, NOW WHAT!?

Many organizations ranging from small to large, public to private are investing in internal auditing functions. Some do it only because they are mandated by law, others because it is a good personnel development tool, and still others realize the benefits of having internal consultants. Organizations can reap substantial benefits from an effectively utilized audit function. However, an ineffective internal audit execution strategy can waste money and time and frustrate audit personnel. The following 4 practices can significantly impact

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