As I have commented on numerous occasions, internal auditing can be a rewarding profession for those who enjoy making a difference in their organization. However, as with any profession, it is not without its challenges. New internal auditors often become frustrated when they are unable to generate an impact as quickly as they would like, or when things don’t go their way. During my career I have experienced the profession from numerous vantage points. As a young internal auditor directly out of college, I experienced the awe, excitement, and occasional frustrations that come with any new career. As I became more seasoned, the wide-eyed enthusiasm waned, but my passion for the work did not. Later, as a chief audit executive (CAE), I experienced new challenges, opportunities, and — yes — occasional frustrations.
Throughout my career I have mentored scores of new internal auditors as they sought to make their way in an unfamiliar profession. As I look back on my own experiences and those of the auditors I have coached, I have identified five dilemmas that often serve as an early source of frustration. I feel confident in saying that every internal auditor will experience them at some point. My advice following each dilemma is directed at new internal auditors or those experiencing the dilemma for the first time:
I am sure there are many other dilemmas that we face in the course of our careers as internal auditors. However, these are the ones I have found to be the most commonly encountered. I welcome your thoughts as well.