By Andy Kovacs
I loved this blog by Richard Chambers on the IIA website!
I recommend you read it – today! Here’s the link:
5 Myths that Cloud Awareness About Internal Audit
Let’s make it an International Internal Audit Awareness Month to remember by getting out there and busting some myths!
By Andy Kovacs
The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.
Why do you need to collaborate with other people?
There’s only ever one reason – and that’s because you can’t get what you want on your own. If you can, then stop wasting other people’s time, stop procrastinating – and go out there and get it!
How do we create mutual interest, a win-win solution and the foundation on which to build a genuinely collaborative relationship with the process owner?
As an auditor, you have an extremely valuable role to play inside your organisation: offering assurance, delivering insight – and doing so with objectivity.
That objectivity is guaranteed by the fact that you, as the third line of assurance, cannot ever perform the management actions required to close your control gap findings.
So it’s rational that you would want to find ways to collaborate with the process owner.
You may well object to this.
You may believe that you have the authority (with the support of your organisation’s senior management team) to compel the process owner to close the control gaps. This nostalgic approach to audit is a can of worms for another day. But I’m sure you’d agree that most process owners would perform management actions with considerably more care, commitment and concentration if they felt they were an integral part of a collaborative decision-making process rather that being pushed.
Nevertheless, I’ve been told by a great many auditors on a great many occasions that there’s a fundamental conflict of interest between auditors and the process owners which makes genuine collaboration impossible. What is this audit paradox?
By Andy Kovacs
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: where there is a reaction, both are transformed.
Whenever I ask Audit Managers how they initiate their audit team’s relationship building with the process owner at the audit mission stage, I get the following answer:
We go to the process owner’s office for the Kick-Off Meeting and we introduce ourselves.
This is not when the relationship with the process owner starts (or it had better NOT be!) – it actually starts beforehand – with the Pre-Mission Communications (the information pack sent out to the process owner to tell them what will happen during the audit mission).
Smiling leverages every subconscious, evolutionary and psychological tool at your disposal to initiate a positive, collaborative relationship
Not realising this fact reveals how Pre-Mission Communs are being dangerously overlooked by many audit departments. If you make that mistake, you’re taking a massive risk when it comes to both building a collaborative relationship with the process owner and making your life easier during the audit fieldwork.
I’ve personally come across countless examples and stories from audit teams about how inadequate relationship building has ended up negatively impacting the results of audit missions. When you look into the reasons (through post-audit stakeholder surveys), it’s common to find the problem starts before the audit team even turned up. This needs to change – and this change needs to start with the Pre-Mission Comms.
As the third line of assurance, auditors can never close the findings which they uncover – only the process owner and their team can do that. So if you can build a positive and collaborative relationship with them, it will be easier for you to get them committed to closing the control gaps.
Before we get into that though, here’s a philosophical thought experiment which will help to bring this into clearer perspective.