October 2018

October 29, 2018

Internal Auditors Must Live in a Shatterproof House

I have long believed that internal auditors have a tougher challenge than many others in an organization. It’s difficult to sustain a reputation for objectivity when we live and work in the same environment where we perform our audit responsibilities — sometimes for a few years, sometimes over an entire career. Everyone is watching internal audit to see if we are walking the talk. I have heard of us referred to as “example setters for an organization,” and that we are “constantly assessed by those we audit.” I call it having a target on our back. If internal audit is not following organizational policies, or even appears to not be following policies, the fallout will affect trust in the department and every internal auditor in it. …

October 22, 2018

​​7 Social Media Posts Internal Auditors Love

One of the many ways I communicate with internal auditors around the world is via social media. With more than 10,000 Twitter followers at @rfchambers and almost 10,000 connections on LinkedIn, it is a way to share information and ideas with a large cross-section of the profession. In fact, it is the 60 percent of my connections who reside outside North America who often demonstrate some of the greatest passion.

Over the summer, I increased the number of posts in which I shared an original pers​pective or idea — not just a link to my blog or other articles or media.…

October 15, 2018

​​Fact or Myth: Internal Auditors Are All Accountants

Last week, I found myself once again in front of accounting students at one of the nation’s top universities. I was joined by The IIA’s chairman of the board, Naohiro​ Mouri. We were there to create awareness about internal audit opportunities for soon-to-be accounting graduates. But we had to walk a delicate line when encouraging these students to pursue a career in internal auditing. We talked to them about the amazing opportunities in internal auditing, but we had to admit that they likely would not be dependent upon the accounting skills they are learning in college.

Six years ago, I wrote here that one of the most common myths about internal auditing was that all internal auditors came from an accounting background.…

October 8, 2018

The CEO’s Brand: A Blessing or a Curse?

The actions of high-profile CEOs and board chairmen can create share volatility and investor uneasiness, and the troubles of Tesla CEO Elon Musk provide a perfect example. Controversial statements and act​ions by Musk have sent Tesla’s stock price on a wild roller-coaster ride. 

This got me to thinking about the risks associated with high-profile company leaders. When a CEO’s brand becomes one a​nd the same with the organization, his or her actions are more likely to be magnified, scrutinized, glorified, or vilified. And that poses a new level of risk that many organizations may not be prepared to handle.

In Musk’s case, a single tweet stating he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share — “funding secured” — sent the electric-car company’s stock skyrocketing to nearly $380 a share.…

October 1, 2018

Stakeholders Have Last Word on Whether Internal Audit Adds Value

If you were to ask your stakeholders to describe how internal auditing adds value, you might receive a different response from each person you talked to. The CEO might focus on recommendations for improving efficiency, while the chief financial officer might describe audit value in terms of cost savings.

One audit committee member might discuss independence and objectivity, while another might mention assurance. And a chief information officer might refer to your advice about a troublesome information security issue, but a human resources director might describe the value of internal audit as a pipeline for organizational leadership. 

Each of their observations about internal audit value would likely be accurate, yet their conclusions regarding the overall value of internal audit might be very different depending upon their individual needs and expectations. …