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
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
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,
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
Star Wars is a classic story that centers around a young slave named Anakin Skywalker who discovers he is one of a special set of people who possess an energy known as the “force”. A Wikipedia entry describes the force as
“an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together.” The Force allows users to perform various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control) and can amplify certain physical traits, such as speed and reflexes
The scope of an auditor’s job expands constantly. One major aspect of the function is to guard against fraud. Auditors perform a variety to techniques to test for fraud. Two of the most essential fraud discovery techniques are observation and inquiry. Done right, auditors can become valuable organizational assets. Done wrong, auditors can be viewed as overzealous obstacles.
I am not sure if there are more people committing fraud, more getting caught, better fraud news coverage or a combination of all, but there seems to be new fraud stories hitting the headlines daily. There seems to be no shortage of individuals willing to risk their freedom and reputation for a few dollars. They range from small to large dollar amounts, to elaborate & sophisticated or simplistic & stupid. Take for example
1. The million dollar Michigan lottery winner who was recently sentenced to probation for receiving $5,475 in food assistance after winning.
2. The convicted rapist who continued to apply for housing benefits
Knowledge and Networking are the ultimate keys to career advancement. Historically, obtaining both effectively was reserved for the exteremly seasoned professional The internet, specifically search engines (like Google) and news feed aggregators, have been instrumental in flattening out the learning curve. However, knowledge is only one element to successful career management. It is important that we also develop and maintain a sound support network. Having a support network is just as much about giving as it is getting. Therefore, volunteering your time, talents and knowledge is fundamental to building and maintaining a successful support network. The following is a list of ways internal auditors can
The proliferation of bringing personally owned mobile devices into the workplace, and using the devices to access privileged company resources such as email, file servers, and databases is known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). It is very widespread. Many of us know people who access corporate email on their personal smartphone or tablet. Organizations should be concerned with BYOD for some of the following reasons
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
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
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 a client protest that you could not possibly audit their area because you are not an “expert” at “what we do”? This is a very difficult situation to encounter. Oftentimes, we attempt to “prove” to the client that we are qualified to perform the audit. We begin listing our skills and experience to demonstrate our proficiency. The truth is, we
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.
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
Early in my career, I had an audit client teach me a valuable lesson. He taught me (1) there is power in the questions we ask (2) not all clients are forth coming with information and (3) as auditors we need to learn to ask better questions. We were interviewing the client as part of our preliminary planning. The more senior auditors on the engagement directed the questioning. Of course they asked the most popular and probably the least useful question that many auditors ask…What keeps you up at night? The client responded, “Nothing, I sleep very well”. While this was not the ideal answer, it made me question how we “question”. I understand the intent of the “what keeps you up” question. We really want to attempt to understand if our clients have any concerns. But let’s face it, we are auditors. Many clients are not 100% forthcoming. I believe that there are 6 better questions
In a recent article, I warned of the dangers of a poorly managed Excel strategy. Many organizations simply do not believe damage (whether financial, reputation, compliance, etc) can result from an Excel worksheet. Recently, the 2012 London Olympics suffered an embarrassment because of a worksheet error.
Organizations must tread diligently in this new world of “tweet” this, “like” that, “pin” those, “Linked” in and “Red” it. Organizations are more and more realizing the impact of social media on their business. We are now starting to see social media policies, social media managers, content writers and other opportunities in this growing field. Many realize that a carefully managed strategy can increase customer base, brand loyalty and sales. When sales are affected, management will adopt policies to drive social media strategy in a direction that best benefits the organization. Now, the question I ask is
What happens when your audit clients substantially or fully remediate identified control issues prior to the final report distribution? Do you (1) remove the item from the report, (2) include the item in the report with the management action plan as if no action has been taken or (3) include the item in the report, credit