August 2014

August 25, 2014

CAE to Audit Committee: I Know You Are Behind Me, but Will You Be With Me?

Ask almost any CAE if he or​ she has the full support of the audit committee, and the answer will usually be “yes.” But, in reality, that may not always be the case.

Audit committees typically have our back on the relatively easy stuff — for example, when we explain the need for more resources, or when we propose a change to the internal audit charter or schedule. But support may soften when a really difficult conversation needs to take place.

If I could ask a single question of every audit committee chair, it would be, “Do you think your organization’s chief audit executive would feel comfortable bringing an issue involving CEO compliance or ethics to your attention?”…

August 18, 2014

From Good to Great: Strategic Planning Can Define an Internal Audit Function

When you compare internal audit functions, you can expect to find quite a few differences. High-performing departments stand apart in their mindset and how they approach their work. They grasp the importance of delivering value, and they are seen by stakeholders as an indispensable resource. They deploy a knowledge-management platform, use automated tools, and train their employees differently. But there’s one trait that distinguishes the best internal audit functions from the pack: A commitment to comprehensive strategic planning.

It’s not that internal audit departments don’t plan out their activities. These days, almost everyone creates a risk-based plan at least annually, and they update it throughout the year based on new information.…

August 12, 2014

IPPF Relook: Changing Times Require a Fresh Perspective

Sooner or later, every internal auditor will ask why something is being done a certain way, only to be met with a look of surprise and an answer that goes something like, “Um, because we have always done it that way.” But it’s in the internal auditor’s DNA to bring a fresh perspective — a fresh set of eyes — to the table and point out what others might miss.

That’s why The IIA has been taking a fresh look at our own International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF), the blueprint for the standards and guidance promulgated by The IIA.

I was fortunate to have chaired the International Internal Auditing Standards Board and know personally from that experience that thousands of hours of hard work went into creating the IPPF, and that some of the most talented internal auditors on the planet were involved.…

August 6, 2014

Tact and the Art of Bringing About Positive Change

Thank you for meeting with us today. As you know, we have already found quite a few things wrong in your department.”

One of the first client meetings I ever attended was also one of the least successful. The meeting was a failure from the very beginning. The internal auditor’s opening statement about finding “things wrong” put our client immediately on the defensive. As a result, the client pushed back, the auditor stood his ground, and the conversation degenerated into little more than an argument.

“But this is wrong. You need to fix it,” the internal auditor complained. “You just don’t understand my department,” the client shot back.