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Redundancy – Final Comments December 30, 2009

Posted by Audit Monkey in The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit.

A few more comments from me on this, then I’ll put it to bed.

As with any restructuring and reduction in numbers, there is an inevitable clamour for the remaining positions to avoid the daily trudge down to the Job Centre. From a chat with a good friend, Major Geek 1, who works for a well known Investment Bank, he alerted me to the fact that there is no such thing as ‘open competition’ for positions when redundancy looms as management fit the selection criteria to those they wish to retain, and those they wish to dismiss. In short, it is pretty much out of one’s hands.

In my case, there was no selection interview just a session with the Fuhrur and his Henchman, Numbnuts, to gauge my initial reaction to the news, etc.
I can’t remember verbatim what was said but here’s a taste.

The Führer asked my opinion as to ‘who should stay, and who should go?’

I commented, that ‘it wasn’t my place to be judge’.

The Führer pressed again. Not wishing to look too egotistical, self-centred or self-peservationist, I replied ‘that the strongest members of the team are the accountants as they have had appropriate training and technically very strong’, myself included of course.

The Führer replied ‘it isn’t all about qualifications Audit Monkey’.

I realised my mistake, it was a kind of ‘Hamlet’ moment and I could hear the oboe being plucked as I gave it some more thought. The Führer and Numbnuts weren’t qualified accountants and only had a couple of IIA qualifications between them. I’m aware it is intelluctual snobbery but I think there is a pecking order when it comes to accountancy qualifications. To my mind, IIA qualifications don’t rank as highly as ACA or ACCA. In this light, the Führer and Numbnets didn’t want anyone too bright on their manor.

The Führer then commented that they wanted people ‘with gravitas’ who can ‘influence’. To be honest, I’m always at a loss when someone mentions the word ‘gravitas’ as the only person I can think of with gravitas is Winston Churchill, not your run of the mill auditor in a grey polyester suit who drives a Skoda. In hindsight I should have asked whether ‘the IIA’s push towards towards Chartered status was to add ‘gravitas’ to their qualifications?’

Anyway, the discussion then got slightly more personal and the Führer had a few critical comments about the content and outcome of a couple of audits I had been involved in. I wouldn’t have minded but the Führer and Numbnuts had been copied in on all the relevant Audit Terms of Reference and could have suggested revisions at any time. If they choose to ignore, I suspect it was due to ignorance rather than oversight. The irony was of course, some of the more shambolic auditors in the team seemed beyond reapproach.

It was evident that the criticism was contrived and I could see what the future heralded. Am I bitter? No, as a redundancy payment running into several thousand pounds was most agreeable and good auditors are always in demand, irrespective of the economic conditions.


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