It is no secret that I consider internal auditing one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet. I make no apology for being a champion of this profession. But let’s face it, no matter how good you are at your job, it’s likely that people don’t drop by your office or schedule a Zoom call just to tell you how much they love your last audit. As I have been exploring in recent blog posts, audit reports are too often met with frustration or even indifference by those on the receiving end. As a young auditor, it used to bother me that my audits were not embraced the way I thought they should be. I once had a boss who told me to “get over it. If you want to be liked, sell ice cream!”
As time went by, however, I led or participated in several internal audits that were enthusiastically embraced by clients for the value they delivered. I came to recognize the unmistakable signs that an internal audit was a big success. I would regularly share the list with my audit teams, and eventually even blogged on the topic. For those who may have never seen my list before, here are a few of my favorite indicators that an internal audit report has made a big impact:
Those aren’t the only signs of internal audit’s positive impact. In fact, the strongest indication that an internal audit is successful is often unique to the particular engagement. Of course, if an audit results in all of the outcomes above, chances are that it didn’t just make a big impact. It was seismic.
By now, I hope you are not asking yourself, “What is he talking about? We never get individual credit for our audits. Our audits don’t even identify team members.” If that’s the case, then you need to talk to your CAE. In leading internal audit teams over the year, I always insisted that individual members be identified in the audit reports. If we do not recognize and celebrate each other, then who will?
I would love to hear from you. Do you have a real-life example of the moment you realized your internal audit was a success? Let’s share the experience.