May 2012

May 24, 2012

Are Enthusiastic IPO Investors Missing an Elephant in the Room?

The past few weeks have witnessed extensive media coverage of two subjects for which investors should have taken extensive note: 1) There are an increasing number of high-profile companies whose shareholders are expressing dismay over corporate governance practices, and 2) high-profile initial public offerings (IPOs) have been drawing extraordinary interest from excited investors.

As I contemplate these two phenomena, I am struck by an interesting thought: Prospective shareholders do not scrutinize corporate governance nearly as often as shareholders who have lived with the governance of their companies over a longer period of time. I can’t help but wonder if investors who are caught up in the excitement and promise of IPOs aren’t missing an “elephant in the room”: What type of governance will the new company have once they own a piece of it?…

May 17, 2012

A Strong Ethical Compass: An Essential Trait for Internal Auditors

Internal auditors are ethical — right? After all, we think of ourselves as the “beacon of ethical light” in every organization. If you can’t trust the internal auditor, who can you trust? Yet, at the end of the day, we are also human. We are subject to the same pressures (culturally, politically, and organizationally) as everyone else in the enterprise. So, maybe we are vulnerable after all.

But can we afford the luxury? I think not.

In the past few months, I have become increasingly troubled by isolated instances when the “ethical compasses” of internal auditors appeared to fail — rather spectacularly.…

May 10, 2012

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

I admit that I am biased. As one who spent the majority of my audit career in the public sector, I strongly believe that government internal auditors play an invaluable role in protecting our interests. That’s why recent news reports regarding government auditors have been so deeply troubling to me.

 In the corporate world, internal auditors have made incredible strides forward in the last decade. Our relationships with audit committees have strengthened, we are gaining a seat at the table with senior management at an ever-growing number of companies and, on average, our work is more appreciated than ever before. Meanwhile, a growing number of government auditors seem to be facing daunting new challenges.…