May 2016

May 23, 2016

Executive Compensation – The Third Rail for Internal Audit?

A third rail is a method of providing electric power to a railway train. The amount of electric voltage it carries is often lethal for any living creature that comes in contact with it. The guidance to railway workers and others and others is simple: “Don’t touch it!”

From my experience, too many CAEs see their organization’s executive compensation practices as a figurative “third rail” in their organizations, and consequently they “don’t touch it.” Indeed, almost 70 percent of respondents to The IIA’s 2015 Global CBOK survey indicated that they dedicate minimal to no effort in looking at executive compensation. CAEs often indicate that they steer clear of executive compensation because of the extraordinary sensitivity and perceived career risk of examining/questioning their bosses’ pay.…

May 16, 2016

Conditioning the Organization for Risk – Agility vs Resiliency

Balancing risk agility and risk resiliency is the focus of PwC’s recently published fifth annual risk study. The report, Risk in Review: Going the D​istance, makes the case that organizations that do both well are more likely to have long-term success.

Of particular interest to me is how the study defines risk agility and risk resiliency. Risk agility is an organization’s ability to “. . . respond quickly to changing markets, customer preferences, or market dynamics,” according to the study. Risk resiliency is defined as an organization’s “. . . ability to withstand disruption by relying on solid processes, controls, and risk management tools and techniques, including a well-defined corporate culture and a powerful brand.”…

May 9, 2016

Every Step You Take – They’ll Be Watching You

One of the great benefits of being the head of a global professional organization​​​ is that I am privileged to travel frequently to meet with internal audit practitioners around the world. By necessity, I have had to become a resourceful traveler. I’ve learned to pack lightly, make time to meet the professionals and appreciate the locales I visit, and take advantage of technology that keeps me connected.

This last aspect has been particularly interesting this year, when there have been two instances where technology played intriguing roles in my travels.

The first involves the powerful technology that keeps me connected to headquarters staff 24/7/365 — most people call it a smartphone.…

May 2, 2016

The Question Should Be – “Where are the Internal Auditors”

There is an old joke that “an expert is someone from out of town with a slideshow.” Too often, when management needs expertise or advice, that is precisely who they call.

In my last blog, I wrote about my dread in hearing the question, “Where were the internal auditors?” As I said then, when the whereabouts of internal audit is pondered by media and others, there has typically been a high-profile corporate failure that has impacted a company’s share value and investor confidence.

I have received a number of interesting comments about the blog, including one from a senior audit leader during my recent visit to Germany for an International Integrated Reporting Council meeting.…