I am an internal auditor and I love it. Most outside of the profession believe that internal auditors sit behind a desk all day with a 10 key (remember those?) or a spreadsheet verifying numbers. Boy is that far from the truth. But most of us in the profession already know that. And for those not in the profession, new to the profession or curious about the profession, we have extremely important jobs.
We want our organizations to achieve goals and objectives (be effective) while running as smoothly as possible (be efficient) while operating within legal constraints (be compliant). So we perform a series of tests designed to determine if organizations are effectively managing risks in an efficient manner while maintaining compliance with policies, laws, rules and regulations. These tests take auditors on a series of excellent adventures as we explore and learn about our organizations.
What follows are 3 reasons you’ll love being an internal auditor.
You’ll Become Smarter
Most good auditors I know are very intelligent individuals. And I do not say that to disparage other professions. There are smart people in every profession, I just believe auditing encourages continuous learning. Auditors must constantly learn new things and adjust to new situations. We navigate through our entire organization. We interact with employees all over the company. If done right, some of their knowledge and experience must stay with us (right?).
Let me give you an example. My “formal” education is in accounting. I have a degree in accounting. This means I should probably be somewhere crunching numbers on a ten key with a pocket protector. But many years ago, I was introduced to some information technology folks at an organization and fell in love with technology. I learned all I could about how computers and computer programs work. I was like a sponge. Then I met a graphic designer. He did things like magazine layouts. I thought this was pretty cool. Again, I learned all I could from him.
Now fast forward years later, I designed and deployed the website you are currently reading this article on (hopefully you are reading this article on my website). I selected the color scheme and software technology, designed the graphics (except the logo), created the videos for the training courses, and generally maintain the website. None of that would have been possible without the curiosity that is inherent in most audit professionals.
I believe to do what we do, most auditors are naturally curious creatures. After all, we ask questions and evaluate things for a living. And it is that curiosity that makes us smarter people (i.e. the asking of questions, learning new things and applying what we learned).
It’s the cure for boredom
I do not like doing the same thing over and over. As auditors, we typically move from project to project covering a vast majority of the processes in our organizations. While not every project is exciting, at least it is not the same thing every day. And if we exercise our curiosity, we may just learn something. For example, the following are some of the things I’ve experienced in my career:
- The production of cookies and crackers (yummy).
- How paper bags are made.
- How new car dealerships really work.
- The fuel bunkering process.
- What happens to mortgages after we sign on the dotted line.
- Ice cream manufacturing
- How higher education really works in America
- How grocery stores buy and sell stuff
- Travel to most of the US states and the Caribbean.
- And so much more
Auditing can be exciting. It is up to us to make the most of the opportunities we have.
Internal networking becomes easier
Building your internal network has several benefits. And being an auditor makes the process so much easier. Whereas, the average worker’s reach may only extend to a few other departments, auditors are exposed to so many different areas within the organization. Internal networking benefits including the following:
Ability to Connect Others
For example, it can help you connect departments that have dependent processes, but are unaware of their dependency. I remember auditing one that spent hours each month creating a report in Excel to help them manage processes. What they did not know was that another department produced a similar report that was automated and real time. We informed each of the situation and they worked it out.
Many organizations use the audit function as a springboard into management. This makes sense. After all, your auditors understand the big picture because they have seen multiple areas in the organization. Further, if the auditor’s internal networking is good, they may already know many of the people in other departments. So management essentially has a selection of good internal candidates for open job opportunities. Who better to put in a job than someone familiar the process and with the people.
There you have it. Three reasons you’ll love being an internal auditor: (1) You’ll become smarter, (2) It is the cure for boredom and (3) Internal Networking is Easier.
What do you think? Why do you love internal auditing?