February 2019

February 25, 2019

​It’s Your Career: Write Your Own Story

I recently had the opportunity to address a graduate internal audit class at my alma mater – Georgia State University (GSU). My message that night was a very simple one: “As you make important decisions about the path you will follow in your career, you need to write your own story.”

Today, many accounting students obsess over the need to land internships with public accounting firms, so that they will have a clear path to joining such a firm once they receive their accounting degree. They believe that this path, which will enable them toward becoming certified public accountants (CPAs), is their only real option.…

February 18, 2019

​Internal Auditors: What Is It You Do?

Anyone who spends time with internal auditors will quickly learn there is a quiet passion that drives many of the best practitioners. It is built on genuine desire to help our organizations, the well-earned respect from those we interact with, and unwavering pride in the service we provide as internal auditors.

Yet, as a profession, we often struggle to explain what it is we do. This challenge is so commonplace, we’ve learned to joke about it. One of my favorites is about the man who instructs his child to tell his classmates that he works at McDonald’s, because it’s easier than explaining he’s an internal auditor.…

February 11, 2019

5 Ways Internal Audit Can Fail to Adequately Serve Its Organization

There are a multitude of pressures on modern internal audit departments. Expectations are high, resources are limited, and risks are emerging at unprecedented speed. Many chief audit executives have their internal audit teams poised to address these challenges. Yet sadly, poor or misguided choices by chief audit executives (CAEs) can lead to internal audit falling short.

Occasionally, well-meaning CAEs and their internal audit departments fail to adequately protect their organizations. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Even the most diligent internal audit team can potentially overlook a critical issue or fail to recognize its significance. But too often when we fail to protect our organizations, it’s not an oversight; it’s the result of a deliberate decision.…

February 4, 2019

​Wells Fargo Further Empowers Internal Audit

I have often quoted Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard regarding what motivates change. He wrote, “All change is preceded by crisis.” American economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman made a similar observation when he said, “Only crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change.”

In this context, I was heartened to see Wells Fargo & Co.’s announcement of changes to its governance practices in response to several crises involving its consumer lending division. I won’t dwell on the details of the mega-bank’s missteps or the resulting regulatory fines. Suffice it to say the scandals that engulfed the world’s second-largest bank (by market capitalization) shook it to its core.…