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:

We determine if organizations (1) make wise use of time and money, (2) follow the “rules” and (3) operate with integrity.

She got it.  I was excited that I could really communicate what I do to someone not in the profession.  Oftentimes, people see that I am a CPA and they say “Oh you do the numbers” or “Oh can you do my taxes”.  I’m sure many of you can add many more to this list.

So my question is, how do you describe what you do to those not in the audit profession?

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Do your friends and family truly understand what you do as an internal auditor?

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Robert Berry (107)

Robert (That Audit Guy) Berry is a risk, compliance and auditing advocate, educator and innovator. He helps good professionals become better by creating articles, web services and training that allow them to expand their knowledge network.

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

  1. Tried to explain my IA work to our seven year old daughter and she replied, “Ah, like a teacher!”. Actually, that’s not as crazy as it sounds!

  2. I explain to my friends that my job is to be a professional busy-body. I stick my nose into other people’s business, see if they’re doing everything right or if there’s something they can do better, and then move on to someone else.

    Somtimes I use a “bee” analogy, where I help the business flower by cross-pollenating ideas from one area to another. Both descriptions seem to be pretty good at defining the concept of auditing.

  3. Like everyone in general, my family ( wife and two grown up kids) too, thinks that being an Internal Auditor is a waste of time. One goes around treading on peoples’ toes and finding out others’ mistakes. Always negative when there is a discussion about my work. But then, I feel, Auditors are those special people in Society who do what the Bible states: “Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comforted”

  4. It sounds like not only do they not understand, but they have a negative bias against your profession. Now that’s interesting. I find that my friends and family simply do not know or understand, however, they are not judgmental.

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