Make your auditee LIKE you to reduce your risk of FAILURE!

By Andy Kovacs
(5-Minute Read)


The best internal auditors are almost always those who create a rapport with their clients. When internal auditor’s behaviour is accusing or aggressive, they are far more likely to be met with resistance than when they treat findings as an opportunity to help accomplish objectives and facilitate improvement.

– Richard Chamber (IIA President & CEO)

“It’s not a bloody popularity contest!”

Here’s a question for you:

  • Do your auditees like you?

When I first started to design and deliver communication development learning programmes for internal audit teams around 20 years ago, this question was invariably met with puzzled expressions when I asked it.

“It’s not a bloody popularity contest!” would be the stock reply.

But people are far more likely to say ‘Yes!’ to the offers of those who they like (and ‘No!’ to the offers of those they dislike, even if it is in their best interests to accept the offer). So getting your auditees to like you should be a priority when it comes to your audit fieldwork conversations.

Without such a rapport, your efforts will be greatly reduced.

Having said that, I’m sure there are many of you sitting there thinking:

“But it’s NOT a bloody popularity contest!”

So here’s a philosophical thought experiment to show you that it had better not be a bloody UNPOPULARITY  contest!
Top 5 Blog Post

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Audit Report Writing Quote No. 4

By Andy Kovacs

Why Audit Report Findings Go Wrong! #1

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Empowered Audit Communication Quote No. 1

By Andy Kovacs

How to Get Audit Communication RIGHT! #1

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!

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Solving the Audit Paradox through a Renaissance in Collaboration!

By Andy Kovacs
(3-Minute Read)


The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Belief which Blocks Genuine Audit Collaboration

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 go out there and get it!

So how do you create mutual interest, a win-win solution and the foundation on which to build a genuinely collaborative relationship with your process owner?

As an internal 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 essential that you find effective ways to collaborate with your 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 your 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?

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Empowered Audit Conversation Quote No. 2

By Andy Kovacs

Why Audit Fieldwork Conversations Go Wrong! #2

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Auditors – start smiling to STOP risking your client relationships!

By Andy Kovacs
(3-Minute Read)

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: where there is a reaction, both are transformed.

– Carl Jung

 How do auditors initiate relationships with auditees?

Whenever I ask Audit Managers how they initiate their internal 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 commns are being dangerously overlooked by many internal audit departments. If you make that mistake, you’re taking a massive risk when it comes to both building a collaborative relationship with the auditees and making your life easier during the audit fieldwork.

I’ve personally come across countless examples and stories from internal 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.

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Empowered Audit Conversation Quote No. 1

By Andy Kovacs

Why Audit Fieldwork Conversations Go Wrong! #1

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Audit Report Writing Lessons from Hollywood

By Andy Kovacs
(3-Minute Read)
Hollywood Sunset

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

– Will Rogers

 Why is it called the “Executive Summary”?

As anyone who has ever written an audit report will tell you, it’s called the “Executive Summary” because this is the only section of the report the executives in your organisation will read … if you’re lucky!

Executive Summaries often lack the urgency, impact and ‘wow’ factor required to stop a busy executive from doing what they’re doing and read the report

This high-profile attention makes writing an Executive Summary a nerve-wracking experience for many auditors. Their boss’s bosses are reading it – so they don’t want to screw it up and make a bad first impression!

I believe this is the reason why a lot of the audit report Executive Summaries which we review here at ELC Consultants lack confidence.

What’s worse, they often lack the urgency, impact and ‘wow’ factor required to stop a busy executive from doing what they’re doing and actually read the report.

There are a lot of articles about how the Executive Summary is the most important section of any audit report and how you mustn’t waste this opportunity to show your value to your stakeholders. Nevertheless, I see very few articles offering practical advice on how to write a great Executive Summary opening.

So here are some lessons from the best scriptwriters in Hollywood to offer some ideas on how to write openings to your Executive Summaries which will get your readers hooked and make them want to read on.

Before we get into that though, we need to understand the mindset of your executive readers. So here’s a philosophical thought experiment which will help to bring this into clearer perspective.

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Audit Report Writing Quote No. 3

By Andy Kovacs

Why Audit Report Executive Summaries Go Wrong! #2

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How Audit Reports KILL Reader-Interest from the First Sentence!

By Andy Kovacs
(3-Minute Read)

Boredom business 1

The secret to being boring is to tell everything.

– Voltaire

 The Executive Summary Boredom Problem

If you were to ask most people how they would like to feel in their day-to-day lives, I’m sure that you would not find many who told you they wanted to feel bored. That includes the reader’s of the Executive Summary of your audit reports.

However, the Executive Summary section of most audit reports is boring. And this is a big problem.

If you don’t engage your reader from sentence one of your Executive Summary, then they won’t read it; and your value will be nullified

Boredom is a feeling which we always try to avoid.

When a film bores us, we change channels.

When a presentation bores us, we drift off.

When a person bores us, we cross the street to get away from them.

If the Executive Summary of your audit report bores your readers, they will not read it.

Nevertheless, I believe that there is a deeper problem here – it’s that auditors who write boring Executive Summaries don’t even realise that they’re doing this.

So here’s a philosophical thought experiment which will help to bring this into clearer perspective.

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