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 [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][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; these abilities vary between characters and can be improved through training. Those with the “force” have much power. Normally, it is used for good, but there is a “dark side” to the force. Each individual must choose to use the “force” for good or evil.
This is where there is a similarity between audit checklist/templates and Star Wars. Templates and checklists, when used for good can help auditors better understand the control environment under review. It adds value to the individual, the department and the organization. However, used inappropriately, they can stifle an auditors objectiveness and creativity. They can become a crutch that allow auditors to continuously produce poor low quality audit after another.
With that, I believe checklist and templates can be a great asset to any audit shop. However, they must be used with caution. I believe in them so much, I created the Auditor Exchange network (www.auditorexchange.com). It is a knowledge sharing web services that allows auditors to upload, preview and download audit documents.
There was a heated discussion on Linkedin.com (http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=129305962&gid=2484683&commentID=89987859&trk=view_disc&ut=0iYUx2sJ5AYRk1) on this very subject.
Photo credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalexanderson/6437601429/[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]