Finding talented internal audit professionals seems to be a common problem plaguing audit functions regardless of country, industry and function maturity. Even in this down economy job websites are full of internal audit opportunities. I have spoken with colleagues who have received literally hundreds of applications for one job opening. However they have also commented that
I am Still amazed by the number of audit functions that produce audit Reports without providing opinions about the control environment. After all, Internal Auditing is an objective assurance function. There is no way one can provide assurance without a formal Concluding opinion.
December 2012. I had the privilege of authoring an article for the IIA magazine titled “‘Your Opinion Matters”. It is presented below in its entirety with permission from the I IA.
The power of opinions has forever changed the way we purch
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:
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
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
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
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
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
Identifying risks and evaluating risk mitigation techniques requires auditors to gather evidence to support conclusions. This evidence must be sufficient, relevant and reliable. Classic textbooks on auditing divide evidence into several categories, however,
Observation and Inquiry is an important skill set that must be in every auditors toolkit. It requires us to remain objective at all times. I find it interesting how this skill is not only applicable to auditing, but also in “life outside of audit” interactions. I recently wrote about what appeared to be bribery at the London Olympics. Further inquiry disclosed that this normal and acceptable behavior. Well, I have noticed another instance of good observation, ineffective inquiry.
Have you ever read an audit report that contained issues that seemed to ramble on forever with no clear thought process or unnecessary language that expands a simple item into a small booklet? Why do some auditors do this?
The distribution list for audit reports
Most audit clients understand that the purpose of an audit is to perform an independent evaluation of functions to determine if operations are effective and efficient. It is a strenuous process on clients. In many instances, it may not be enjoyable, however, most clients tend to respect the process. Occasionally, there are clients who exhibit behavior that is less than mutually respectful. I have said it before, being audited is just as stressful as auditing. I have personally seen clients scream, curse and toss items. While some clients are simply wired to be difficult (see related article on audit client types), I truly believe that a majority of clients are mature enough to
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:
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
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
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
I recently wrote about 4 different auditor personality types. This article received a lot of visits, votes and comments. Check it out if you have not already. The purpose of that article was to identify some of the personality traits that we as auditors exhibit. Because communication is a two way street, today I want to discuss 4 audit client personality types. We must recognize
Have you ever had an audit client who seemed to have all the answers to every query immediately. They have a presence that is either captivating or intimidating or both. They deliver explanations to you with an unmoving confidence. It is important to consider that confidence does not necessarily equate to competence. And overconfidence can
Auditors frequently encounter various types of clients with personalities ranging from shy to overzealous. The personalities and behaviors are oftentimes topics of discussion. However, in this article, I would like to discuss auditor personality types. I believe that there are at least 4