There is clearly a popular fascination with exploring the “Whatif” concept to varying degrees. I thought it would be interesting to take a similar approach with a concept that is regularly explored in this space: Internal Audit. More specifically, I was interested to explore the following question: What if Internal Audit didn’t exist?
The point Richard Chambers makes is a valid one: Internal Audit cannot effectively serve the organization if it is simply there to put on the brakes (even though brakes are critical to safe driving). Rather, IA can provide the most value to the organization by acting as a guide, providing crucial and helpful feedback along the journey, identifying when the organization has gone off track and letting them know when they’ve reached their destination.
Excel is a great tool…in small doses. But if you’re running internal audit and enterprise risk management (ERM) functions on a global scale using a system of spreadsheets, you may be feeling the pain of inefficiency. That was the challenge facing Meredith Maher, director of audit and analytics for Alere.
Yesterday, I picked up the July 11 edition of the Wall Street Journal. As I skimmed the front page, the following headline drew my attention: “Under Fire, Theranos CEO Stifled Bad News.” A CEO stifling bad news? Sounds like an interesting Tone at the Top tale to this former auditor!
During the first two weeks of March, I was fortunate enough to represent Onspring as an exhibitor at two excellent industry conferences: RSA Conference in San Francisco and the Institute of Internal Auditors General Audit Management Conference in Dallas. Both conferences afforded us a great opportunity to raise awareness about the Onspring platform and solutions, as well as our company’s philosophy of solving problems by providing high quality solutions and services.
If you grew up in the 80s, you probably have fond memories of your trusty mixtapes—a collection of favorite songs on a well-worn cassette that you listened to over…and over…and over again. We’re a long way from mixtapes in 2015, but the concept holds true: sometimes the good stuff just gets better with age. As the year draws to a close, the Onspring team would like to offer our own mixtape of sorts: a collection of our favorite blog posts from 2015. We invite you to sit back, “press play” and enjoy these stories again (…and again…and again).
At this stage in my kids’ development, their biggest issue with me is the fact that I have to work. Even more egregious than Dad leaving the house to do work is when he has to leave town to do work. As I was preparing to head to Florida for the IIA All-Star Conference, I was getting quite the earful from two particularly vocal detractors of employed fathers. “Why do you have to go? You ALWAYS leave! You NEVER stay!” As they went on (and on and on), I found myself starting to feel very bad about it. When I find myself in such situations with my kids, the jukebox in my mind instantly cues up Harry Chapin’s 1974 tear-jerking classic, “Cat’s in the Cradle.”
A quick Google search for “internal audit software” reveals a long list of available solutions. Many of these providers (Onspring included) exhibited at the recent Governance, Risk and Controls (GRC) Conference in Phoenix, co-sponsored by the IIA and ISACA. In terms of sheer quantity of choices, internal auditors have no shortage of software at their disposal. But how many of these solutions enable internal auditors to (as the IIA Research Foundation report describes) “creatively innovate to stay a step ahead of the real-time pace of technology advancement”?
Recently, I watched an excellent TED Talk video by author Simon Sinek that has changed my perspective on my career and my life in general. Simply put, Sinek challenges companies (and by extension the people who work for them) to articulate why they do what they do, rather than simply saying, “here’s what we do.” The idea is that when the right people understand and connect to the reasons why you choose to do the things you do, these people are much more likely to want to do business with you. As Sinek elegantly states: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
These principles from the IIA set the expectation that effective internal auditors have a strong understanding of their organization, its business practices and the ever-changing risks and opportunities that it faces. For many professionals, this shift will require them to obtain new skills and adopt different perspectives. This shift may be difficult for some to accept, but it is necessary for all, and I would venture to guess that this is welcome news to boards of directors and senior management.
This is the first article in a three-part series I’ll be posting throughout the GRC Conference in Phoenix. My intent is not to dissect the IIA’s changes in minute detail. There have been a number of great pieces written on this topic, and I encourage you to jump over and read what those on the forefront of internal audit are saying, particularly a recent article by Norman Marks and Kristen Gantt that offers a compelling view of the internal audit department of tomorrow.
Gantt charts. You love them or you hate them. Or you love to hate them. Whatever your sentiment toward this mainstay of the project management world, there’s no denying that Gantt charts can be an incredibly useful tool for visualizing project resources and activities over time. That is…IF they are easy to create and modify and IF they are accurate. Otherwise, they’re not worth the paper (or screen space) they’re written on.