May 2013

May 29, 2013

Effective IGs Are Watchdogs, Not Lapdogs

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Inspector General Act of 1978 — the landmark legislation that created the audit and investigative agencies that serve as the “watchdogs” in the U.S. federal government. Under the Act, inspectors general (IGs) are responsible for:

  • Conducting and supervising audits and investigations relating to the programs and operations of the various federal agencies.
  • Providing leadership and coordinating and recommending policies (1) to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness, and (2) to prevent and detect fraud and abuse in their agencies.
  • Providing a means for keeping the head of their agencies and the U.S.
May 24, 2013

Is Your Audit House Shatterproof?

You’ve heard the expression, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” A corollary drawn from a presentation I share with government auditors, though applicable to all internal audit shops, is “If you’re going to throw stones, you’d better live in a shatterproof house.”

As internal audit professionals we do live in glass houses. People expect us to walk the talk. They expect us to be, perhaps, just a bit more ethical than everyone else. And if at some point in our careers we have had a lapse in good judgment, or someone in the internal audit department had transgressions that others in the company knew about, we can expect to be discredited by those we critique.…

May 13, 2013

​Do You Live Your Life in Color?

Last month, I lost two people who had an important influence on my life. One was a dear relative and the other a close personal friend from my college years. As I have reflected on these two remarkable women, I am struck by one thing they both had in common: They lived their lives in color. Unlike so many people who simply punch the clock on their personal and professional lives, both of these women lived their lives to the fullest, and pursued their passions (personal and professional) with zeal.

We have all encountered individuals in our professional lives who are living their lives in black and white.…

May 6, 2013

Small Rocks Can Cause the Biggest Waves

Some time back, I blogged about “big impact” audits, those career milestones we look back on with the satisfaction of knowing that our work, and profession, made a significant difference. Whether it’s in internal auditing or in life in general, we all aspire to make a difference. We want that feeling of accomplishment that comes with knowing we have changed the world, if even in a small way. But internal auditing is especially rewarding when we can make a big impact — when we can bring about major changes that improve operations and prompt senior management and the board to sit up and take notice.…

May 1, 2013

Five Probing Questions the Audit Committee Should Be Asking the CAE

No relationship for a chief audit executive (CAE) has been transformed more over the past decade than that with the audit committee. According to The IIA’s Audit Executive Center, more than 75 percent of internal audit departments in North America report functionally to the audit committee. And in many companies, the audit committee holds a discussion session with the CAE at every meeting.

 The audit committee’s success is tied to the effectiveness of the internal audit department. Accordingly, audit committee members must have complete confidence in the internal audit function and its CAE. This confidence can only be achieved with a strong, continuous, and open dialogue between the CAE and the audit committee. Of…