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. …

September 24, 2018

When the Wheels Come Off an Internal Audit, the Culprit Is Usually Poor Planning

In my role as president and CEO of The IIA, I meet and converse with internal auditors around the world. It’s gratifying to hear abou​t their successes, and important to learn about their challenges. In this week’s blog post, I want to share with you some of the things I’ve heard when internal audits go bad. My hope is that, by talking about our mistakes, we can correct our course and prevent future problems. 

In general, most issues that arise when the wheels come off during internal audits stem from a single root cause: inadequate engagement planning. It can be tempting to cut engagement planning short, especially when we’re still trying to wrap up the last audit.…

September 17, 2018

Is There Too Much Civility in the Boardroom?

Let’s face it, civility is in short supply in the 21st ​century. Whether in politics, social media, on the highway, or in line at a fast-food restaurant, common courtesy and respect are scarce commodities. One place that civility seems to be alive and well is in the boardroom. However, one has to ask: Is there too much civility in a place where members should bring a healthy dose of skepticism?

Common wisdom is that inspirational leadership is synonymous with great success. Many of the world’s most successful companies are associated with iconic leaders such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, and others.…

September 10, 2018

Writing an Impactful Audit Report: 6 Tips for Being More Persuasive

If you ask internal auditors why they write audit reports, some might answer that it’s to communicate an engagement’s objectives, scope, and results. Others might offer that it’s to describe what the auditors found and to make recommendations for improvement. But the ultimate objective of internal audit reporting is not to describe what we found or to make recommendations for improvement. It is to persuade readers to take action.

Impact is imperative, but not all internal auditors realize the difference that writing style can make to ensure corrective action is complete and timely. The content of a report informs readers, but I would argue that writing style is what motivates.…

September 3, 2018

​​​​Research: IIA Membership a “Powerful Catalyst for Change”

One of the fundamental goals for any professional organization is to recruit members. Often, practitioners who are busy building and advancing their careers fail to recognize the benefits offered by organizations such as The IIA.

For more than 25 years, I have believed the benefits The IIA offers are plentiful, clear, and essential. As a chief audit executive (CAE) struggling to manage the complex internal audit operations of the U.S. Army in the early 1990s, I discovered the vast resources of The IIA. In the years that passed, regardless of the audit organizations I led, I always maintained a tight connection with The IIA.…

August 27, 2018

​​6 Signals That Your Last Internal Audit Hit a Home Run

As I have been writing in my blog for nearly 10 years, I think internal auditing can be one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet. But let’s face it, no matter how good you are at your job, it’s unlikely that people drop by your office each day, or post a comment on social media, just to say how much they loved your last audit. Still, as I wrote back in 2011, there are unmistakable signs that your last audit was indeed a big success. Here are a few of my favorite indicators that an​ internal audit report hit a home run.…

August 12, 2018

​​The Road to Success Will Pass Through Many Valleys

You can tell a lot about the content of a person’s character by the way they respond to a defeat rather than by how they celebrate a victory. I often comment in this blog on best practices and technical issues relating to internal audit. However, in 2013, I began sharing my thoughts on an issue of broader interest: perseverance in the face of adversity.​

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known over the years who suffered a professional setback and never recovered. They just couldn’t get over that hurdle and get on with their professional or even personal lives.…