Each year about this time, I reflect back on the year and the blogs I have written. Having authored almost 600 blog posts over the past 14 years, I have come to believe their readership is a good litmus test for what’s on internal auditors’ minds. So, as I have done over the years, I have identified the 10 most-read blogs in 2022 to re-share with you – in case you missed some.
The 50 blogs I authored in 2022 have been read more than 150,000 times by readers in over 180 countries around the world. When I review the 10 most read blogs of 2022, three key themes emerge: (1) internal auditors are anxious for solutions to strategic risks facing their departments; (2) they are vitally interested in strategies to win and sustain audit committee support for internal audit; and (3) they are constantly seeking ways to improve processes and achieve agility in a period of uncertainty.
With that background, here is the top 10 for 2022:
- Dear Audit Committee – Guess Who Audits the Most Critical Risks? The most read blog I authored in 2022 is also one of the most recent. Published in November, the popularity of this blog exploded – particularly in India and South Africa. Google analytics doesn’t shed light on who the readers were, but I suspect it was popular with both internal auditors and audit committee members. Regardless, I sense this blog will become a timeless read for audit committee members and the internal auditors who serve them.
- 5 Things Not to Say When You’re Starting an Internal Audit. This blog from February looked like it would run away with the most read designation until late in the year. Its popularity proved once again how important communication is to internal auditors. As the blog notes: “too often, mistrust is created, or other barriers are established simply because of a misplaced word or thought at the beginning of an engagement.”
- Followup Audits Are a Waste of Time! I worried at the time I posted this blog that the title was a bit too blunt. Internal auditors loved it. I received many comments that the blog was right on point and helped clear up some misconceptions about exactly what the Standards require. As I noted in the blog’s closing paragraph, “it’s time that we recognize the ultimate objective is not scores of follow-up audits. Instead, the objective is that corrective actions are implemented, and a monitoring system is in place to afford such assurance.”
- New Surveys Raise Alarm Bells for Internal Audit. I have always tried to keep an eye on the horizon for storm clouds for our profession. When several survey results in early 2022 signaled risks ahead for the profession, I had to sound an alarm myself. As the year ends, some of the bells are ringing softer. But we must always keep an ear out for trouble.
- 5 Questions the Audit Committee Should Ask Internal Audit but Doesn’t. The popularity of this blog was another strong indicator of the concerns the profession has with maintaining the support of audit committees. The 5 unasked questions I shared are ones that audit committee members have asked me about their own internal audit departments. My answer was often, “why don’t you ask them yourself?”
- Internal Auditors Must Sometimes “Break the Rules” to Ask the Right Questions. As noted above, internal auditors are always striving to become better communicators. As I noted in the blog: “few skills are more essential for internal auditors than knowing how to ask the right questions. With effective questioning skills, we can build rapport, strengthen understanding, and encourage openness. Without these skills, we can damage working relationships or overlook essential information.”
- 5 Strategies for More Timely Internal Audit Reports. Delivering timely audits is a universal challenge for internal auditors. It didn’t surprise me when this blog generated high readership. As with other blogs on this list, an occasional re-read of this article couldn’t hurt.
- You Don’t Have to Be a Clown to Audit the Circus. By far the cheekiest title of the year, this blog struck a nerve with thousands of internal auditors who have heard someone say “internal auditors are not qualified to audit my area.”
- Internal Auditing: Career Path or Steppingstone. During the era of the “great resignation,” it didn’t surprise me that this blog struck a chord with many in the profession. In answering my own question about whether internal audit is a career path or steppingstone, I observed: “My experience is that, for sharp, creative and motivated individuals, it can be the right choice either way.”
- FTX’s Lack of Governance and Internal Auditors Should Have Been Red Flags. This is the most recent blog on the list. Published barely three weeks ago, it has already been read more than 40 other blogs I wrote this year. High profile corporate scandals always seem to generate interest in our profession. As I noted in the blog my first instinct in the wake of the FTX news was to write a blog about the lessons learned from the collapse. But the fact is, there are very few new lessons from FTX – there are only reminders. We were once again reminded that “fools and their money soon part,” Peter Drucker was right (“culture eats strategy for breakfast”), and when there is no internal audit function, investors should run.
It has been a busy year for me. Aside from the blogs I have authored for my website, I also have been crafting blogs and articles for AuditBoard. I invite you to check out these six, which also have generated significant readership:
Despite the disruptions and uncertainties of 2022 and more changes that most assuredly are on the way, I look forward to seeing what the next year brings and continuing to share my views with you, my loyal readers.
I welcome your comments via LinkedIn or Twitter (@rfchambers).