I recently attended a large internal audit conference in Europe where attendees were anxious (as always) to discuss their daily dilemmas and seek my perspectives. Not surprisingly, one of the first conversations I had involved internal audit’s lack of popularity in one of the attendee’s companies. She lamented that internal auditors are not very welcome – regardless of the audit they undertake. To paraphrase her words, “they cringe whenever they hear we are coming!”
I sympathized with her plight, and immediately recalled that I have addressed this topic before in a blog titled What Do They Think When the Internal Auditors are Coming? During our conversation, I shared reasons why I believe internal auditors continue to instill fear in many organizations they serve – despite the evolution of the profession and the messaging we often signal about “being there to help.” I shared four theories:
When we aren’t enthusiastically welcomed at the outset of a new engagement, there is a common thread – clients are skeptical of our intentions. Over the years, I’ve offered simple tips to win over cynical or adversarial clients. If used on a recurring basis, I find these practices will often turn even the most difficult client into an internal audit advocate.
I realize there are no magic answers for every dilemma we face as internal auditors. However, we must never stop striving for solutions when impediments threaten our success. I hope the tips above will help you navigate the stereotypes and skepticism that make you feel less than welcome when you are starting a new audit. Feel free to add to my list, or to share your own perspectives on LinkedIn or Twitter. Alternatively, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org