December 27, 2021

Internal Audit Isn’t the Brakes, It’s Part of the Navigation System

I have always been on the lookout for clever ways to describe internal audit’s role in an organization. Elevator speeches are fine when you have 60 seconds to describe the value your profession brings to an uninformed bystander. I even shared some ideas for the elevator speech in a blog earlier this year. However, an elevator speech doesn’t hold a candle to a well-crafted sound bite that will leave a lasting impression.

One of my favorites used to be “internal audit is the brakes that allows the organization to drive faster.” The reasoning behind this analogy is that brakes are a critical component in a vehicle.…

December 19, 2021

A Dozen Who Made a Difference

The 2021 Internal Audit Beacon Awards

In 2019, I shared a list of the internal audit thought leaders of the decade. The list alerted internal auditors around the world about outstanding men and women in our field who worked tirelessly to elevate and promote the internal audit profession through writing, speaking, use of social media and networking. The blog was so popular that I crafted a new list at the end of 2020 to recognize the ten thought leaders of the year.

After stepping down from The IIA earlier this year, I pledged to continue advocating for the profession around the world.…

December 13, 2021

What My 10 Most-read Blog Posts of 2021 Say About Internal Auditors

Each year about this time, I reflect back on the year and the blogs I have written. Having authored more than 530 blog posts over the past 12 years, I have come to believe their readership is a good litmus test of contemporary internal auditors’ priorities and concerns. So, as I did in past years, I have identified the 10 most-read blogs in 2021 to re-share with you – in case you missed some.

Identifying the most popular blogs this year was bit more challenging than in the past, because I transitioned my blog series from The IIA to my own website after I stepped down as The IIA’s President and CEO in March.…

December 9, 2021

New 2022 “Top Risks” Report Is Required Reading for Internal Auditors

Each year, there are a handful of survey-based research reports that are highly anticipated for those of us who like to peer into the risk horizon. In September, I shared insights on the ECIIA’s 2022 Risk in Focus report, which surveyed European chief audit executives on vulnerabilities facing their organizations in the year ahead. The blog, which was posted the same day the report was released, generated more readership than any blog I’d written in 2021.

Today, another highly anticipated report is being released. The 10th annual Executive Perspectives on Top Risks is a joint undertaking by North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative and Protiviti.…

December 6, 2021

The IIA at 80: A Legacy of Leadership, Collaboration, and Advocacy

Two events occurred 80 years ago this week that are still remembered decades later. The Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into the middle of a raging world war that had already engulfed much of the planet. Two days later, on Dec. 9, the 11 founders of The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) held their long planned inaugural annual meeting in New York City. After the formalities of the meeting that evening, they took time to gather around a radio and listen to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chat with the nation in the wake of the attack.…

November 29, 2021

Internal Audit’s Relationship With the General Counsel Can Be Complicated

As a newly appointed chief audit executive many years ago, I tried early to identify the other executives in the organization who would be our strongest allies. I reported to the CEO, but quickly established a strong rapport with the COO, CFO and the general counsel (the chief legal officer). I felt they all supported our mission and were champions for the work we did. Then, suddenly, I locked horns with one of them, and the relationship was in serious disarray.

During the course of an audit. one of my audit teams discovered a potential legal violation in the use of government funds for a construction project.…

November 22, 2021

When There is No Internal Audit – Investors Should Run!

A recent Gallup Poll found that 56 percent of Americans invest in the stock market, which is consistent with historical trends. The statistic varies in other countries, but the fact is, hundreds of millions of individuals around the world, directly or indirectly, are risking their retirement income and financial well-being based on how well the companies they invest in are run.

As more investors seek to benefit from a growing marketplace, they should be cautious when deciding which companies are worthy of their hard-earned dollars. Not only should they understand an organization’s business model and the risks facing the economy, industry, and company, they should also understand how well a company is managed.…

November 15, 2021

Making Auditors “Civil Servants” Isn’t the Right Answer

From time to time, I hear of ideas for “improving” the auditing profession. Some are pretty good, but others catch me totally by surprise and, well, leave me cringing.

That’s the case over a recent interview with the CEO of IIA South Africa in CFO South Africa on the future of audit. In the article, “’Are these the auditors we want?’ asks Julius Mojapelo,” Julius floats two broad proposals for discussion:

  1. The external audit profession should be organized as a “civil service.”
  2. There should be greater regulation of the internal audit profession.

Julius is a friend for whom I have great respect.…

November 12, 2021

Call for Nominations: Internal Audit Beacon Awards

Professions thrive through advocacy and diversity of thought. The internal audit profession is no different. For the past two years, I have recognized 10 men and women who are making an impact on behalf of internal audit around the world.

I am pleased to announce the continuation of the annual recognition through my website AuditBeacon.com. Next month AuditBeacon.com will recognize 10 global internal thought leaders who have made a significant contribution to advancing the internal audit profession around the world in 2021. Individuals will be recognized for contributions through publishing, video and audio media; speaking; and advocating the value of internal auditing around the world.…

November 3, 2021

Whose Risk Is It, Anyway? When Management Says ‘No’ to Internal Audit

One of the most frustrating events in my career was one of the first times an internal audit client firmly and repeatedly said “no” to one of my internal audit recommendations. It was an important point and I tried to explain my reasoning. Management agreed with the finding, but believed corrective action would be too time consuming and resource intensive. My supervisor also supported me, and we believed the risks of not implementing corrective action would be very high for the enterprise. But neither of us could persuade management to implement the recommendation or even find an acceptable alternative course of action.…