It would be fun to Audit…3 min read

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Several years ago while building a new relationship with an audit client, I mentioned that it would be ”fun to audit” Carnival’s cruise ship operations. She responded, ”Why, so you can catch them doing something wrong.” At this point, we had a candid conversation about her perception of internal auditing and what we really do. I explained that it is never our intention to  “catch” someone doing something wrong. We are charged with evaluating processes to determine if risks have been identified and are appropriately managed via effective and efficient controls. Fortunately, this client was very open to learning about internal audit.  We audited several of her areas with success.  She would occasionally joke about our initial interaction by commenting that it would be “fun” to audit process a, b or c in our organization.  Except her definition of “fun” was not really all that exciting.  it was typically coworkers that were a pain in the but for her.  Then one day she asked me, what was the most exciting thing I had experienced while auditing. After thinking about it, I was amazed at some of the cool (okay maybe they are only cool to me) things I’ve seen.  You see, I’m a curious creature and always like to know how things are made and how strategies are conceptualized, marketed, etc.  My actual list of cool things is fairly small.  So far, I’ve seen:

  • How cookies are manufactured

  • The process for making potato chips

  • How farmers get eggs (ewwww)

  • The making of paper bags

  • The grocery business in the Caribbean

  • How private planes get their fuel

  • The grocery procurement and distribution process

  • What happens to checks (Am I dating myself here and does anyone still use checks) after you write them and give them to the person at the store

  • The process banks go through in determining your mortgage interest

  • Oh Oh Oh.  How new car dealerships really work.  Not including the service side. (i.e. how the develop “floor plans”, what/how auto companies charge them, financing, etc)

  • Various warehouse operations (some good with neat technology for locating items and others…well…not worth mentioning)

  • How a telephone PBX system really works

  • How colleges plan and schedule courses

  • The building and filling of a new dormitory facility

  • The truth behind the cost of college

  • How college bookstores operate

  • How book publishers really work

  • The mechanics behind operating a library (it is probably more complicated than you think)

These are just a few.  However, my “Wouldn’t it be cool to audit” list is a little more exciting.  So here are some companies and/or processes I think it would be fun to audit.

  • Krispy Kreme Donuts

  • Netflix

  • Carnival Cruise Lines

  • Sea World

  • Darden (you know the parent company of many great restaurants.  I think it would be fun to see how they come up with new concepts, test and deploy them)

  • Dollar Tree (you gotta love how they manufacture and distribute some items and still keep the price under $1)

  • Kenneth Cole

  • Mall of America

  • The circus

  • Southwest Airlines

  • Little Debbie

  • Toys R Us (hey they actually had a few positions open earlier this year.  what really intrigues me about them is that they private label some products which means there has to be either some sort of research and development or royalty system for product developers.  Either way, it would be pretty fantastic to see a toy go from concept to reality)

  • The NBA (now they actually had a position open earlier this year also).  Could you imagine?

What about you?  What organization or process would you love to audit?

Robert Berry (106)

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.

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