June 2021

June 28, 2021

How Internal Auditors Quietly Foster Trust in Capital Markets

Five years ago this week, I had the distinct privilege of joining several IIA colleagues on the podium of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to ring the opening bell. This once-in-a-lifetime experience was one of the highlights of my 12 years as The IIA’s CEO. It’s a memory I cherish for many reasons, not the least of which was the NYSE’s acknowledgement of The IIA’s 75th anniversary. This year The IIA is celebrating its 80th anniversary, and it’s an appropriate time to remind ourselves what this profession does to foster trust in institutions around the world.

I retain many vivid memories of the NYSE ceremony on June 30, 2016, but one that I have replayed in my mind many times occurred behind-the-scenes before the opening bell.…

June 16, 2021

How Space Aliens Factored Into my Most Controversial Audit

This week, members of the United States House Intelligence Committee will receive a classified briefing on a topic of universal and enduring controversy: Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). Throughout history humans have been in awe of celestial bodies beyond our own. The curiosity about extraterrestrial life often stimulates fierce debate. Twenty years ago this week, I came to appreciate just how passionate people can be about the subject of alien life.

​As the inspector general (IG) of the Tennessee Valley Authority (a U.S. government owned corporation), I was responsible for the audit and investigative functions of the company. Shortly after I became IG, we reported a cybersecurity breach that had allowed an unauthorized third-party access to our network after hours.…

June 14, 2021

For Some Audit Reports: It’s Better Never Than Late

I recently heard from an old acquaintance that I had worked with as an internal audit colleague years ago. He eventually moved on, and today holds C-suite assignment in a large company. He reached out to me because he had just received an internal audit report on his area of responsibilities that included a number of critical findings. He wasn’t contacting me about the substance of the report (some of with which he strongly disagreed). Instead, he was lamenting that the audit had taken three years to complete. Yes – 3 years! Yes – 36 months! Yes – 1,095 days! He knew my reaction before he even asked.…

June 7, 2021

In the Face of Dire Cyber Threats – Internal Auditors Should Seize the Home Field Advantage

In October 2019, I authored an article titled: Ready or Not — Here Come the 2020s in which I offered my predictions for the decade ahead. Included on my list was the following: “The principle driver of cybercrime will evolve from direct financial gain to personal and political manipulation…. cyber criminals have shown a troubling talent for finding new ways to leverage technology. With the imminent launch of 5G wireless technology and the explosion of data it will create, cyber criminals will assuredly find exotic ways, both brazen and covert, to influence what we hear, see, and possibly do.” While the vast majority of cybercrimes still include a financial motive, events of the past month have proven all too well that cyber criminals can disrupt our everyday lives and influence “what we do.”…