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It’s for Charity June 12, 2010

Posted by Audit Monkey in The State of the British Nation, Working Life in Britain.
Tags: , ,

Time for Audit Monkey to be a curmudgeon. I’m slightly wary of posting this but it has to be said as it is really getting on my nerves. Two words, charity collectors.

This is my beef. Virtually every weekday morning and evening there is a charity collector at the mainline train or Tube stations I use in central London. For example, in the past couple of weeks, we have been subjected to singers knocking out aria’s in support of Macmillan Cancer at Victoria station.  You may think this is ‘nice’ but I really do mind.  I don’t want to be hearing ‘Requiem’ being bashed out at 8.30am in the morning while I’m half awake and dodging spend thrift tourists who think travelling the on Tube with excessive luggage during the London rush hour is constructive.

Don’t get me wrong, Macmillan Cancer is a worthy charity but it is one of many which I am asked to contribute to on a daily basis.  On Thursday, at Mansion House Tube, we had to dodge a ‘gentleman’ in a Superman muscle suit collecting for a children charity.  He also had some novelty headwear to humour hardened City types.  He probably thought he was being noble but I’m subjected to charity collectors every morning.

In recent months, I’ve seen dubious collections for Haiti Earthquake victims, collections for old Fishermen’s Mission, RNIB, Christian Aid, etc.  Such is the demand for the alloted pitches at Victoria Station and other mainline stations, Railtrack, the firm responsible for the rail infrastructure actually issues permits to charities to enable them to canvass weary commuters. Incidentally, having spoken to Railtrack managers, they think the level of charities collecting at their stations is acceptable.

The irony is there is no restbite at work. There is the main charity the firm supports, which incidentally I do contribute but then there are the endless, round robin e-mails from colleagues asking you to sponsor them for a marathon or their off-spring in a sponsored walk, cake-bake, whatever, as well.

It’s getting to be too much. It’s overwhelming. It is constant badgering. You may disagree but there should be some boundaries. If charities want to collect, why do Railtrack consent for collections on what is commercial property rather than the public highway? Then again, I haven’t even mentioned ‘chuggers’. I just think I shouldn’t be subjected to it every day.

“Cough up, it’s for charity!”

Post script: If you were thinking that I’m exaggerating, ‘Help for the Homeless’ at Victoria Station this morning (12/06/10) and a homeless person begging on the overground train home this evening…


1. Rex - June 14, 2010

Hi Audit Monkey!

Very excited to come across your blogg!! I am a qualified accountant (ACCA), 34 yrs old with an Imperial College MBA. Quite recently, I have moved into the international development sector and I have been asked by a DFID project to help with Internal auditing. I don’t know where to start or the questions to even ask consulting company!!

This is only a small assignment but it provides the opportunity to make a great first impression which could lead to extra work.

I need your help in trying to prepare for this assignment in any of the following ways;

* Do you have some guidelines/ best practise/ tips on preparing for an internal audit? This information can come from either an organisation you currently work in or one that you worked in previously. It would be particularly useful if there is any internal audit report available that I could browse through to help shape my understanding of the deliverable within this assignment

* Do you have any quick and dirty generic methodology I can replicate and apply with regards to conducting either a light or deep audit especially for a not-for-profit organisation? I would also appreciate anything from a private sector organisation, if that’s what’s readily available

* Are you aware of any templates or specific areas that one needs to lay focus or are there any tests that you know need to be carried out during such a process, for example, do you focus on bank and cash transactions (especially large value items)first before verifying other aspects of the Financial transactions?

* How do you go about auditing the “processes” within an organisation and how do you determine which processes to audit?

This assignment stars on July 1st so it’s fairly urgent that I get as much relevant information by Friday, 18th of June at the latest so as to give me adequate preparation time.

Really appreciate your help and looking forward to some response


Best Regards


Audit Monkey - June 14, 2010

Thanks for the comment, although it may have been better placed on some of my earlier blog posts.

To be honest, I’m at a bit of a loss as to the nature of your engagement at DFID and it’s exact scope, so it is difficult for me to advise. However, from your questions, e.g. about process auditing, you are very new to auditing. In context, it is difficult for me to compress years of study, on the job learning and years of experience into a few simple one-liners.

Also, I’m slightly loathed to do your job for you, especially when there are fees to be earned, money to be made and someone else (not you personally but your firm and it’s shareholders) is going to benefit from the fruits of my advice. I know this may seem like disappointing news and you probably think I’m being disagreeable. However, it’s a dog eat dog world out there, especially in the world of professional services and consulting. As I’ve learnt, often the hard way, no-one helps the competiton to succeed and there are no short cuts to success.

2. Rex - June 14, 2010

Hi Audit Monkey,
I must confess that I’m fairly surprised at your response.Not just its content but more its tone and somewhat lack of emotional intelligence. (No offense intended).

Yes, I am VERY new to auditing and all I wanted was some form of guidance on how to approach it given the fact that I may have the opportunity to do something in that area. Like you, I have been off work and I’m trying to figure out what options may be interesting to explore.

Let it be known that I am not charging for this proposed service to DFID and I do not have shareholders in my company (it was set up for me alone). I didn’t think I was on to someone who clearly is bitter!

All I can say really is people do help other colleagues out in different situations. I have done so and will continue to do so cos its decent. Stop reading too hard into my request (and others too). It may be time to get off the bitter bus! Good luck!!

Audit Monkey - June 14, 2010

Maybe I am bitter but you are offering your services to DFID! Please appreciate that in the world of Internal Audit consultancy, the main firms do protect their intelluctual property until someone pays. They don’t give out for free! Would you like me to be brutely honest regarding your first comment and what I really think?

3. Old Fashioned Auditor - June 14, 2010

Audit Monkey – I am a very good friend of yours but you are a little harsh on Rex. He is new to internal audit and a point in the right direction would be most appropriate.

4. Audit Monkey - June 14, 2010

Old Fashioned Auditor, fair comment. I will reply more fully on Rex’s original request on Tuesday evening.

5. ITauditSecurity - June 15, 2010

Audit Monkey,
I think your answers were legit. I didn’t hear any bad tone in it. I think you were just be honest. I’d suggest you keep your reply short…

6. Audit Monkey - June 15, 2010

Rex – Surprised you wish to enter the profession, as I’m dying to get out. Anyway, some pointers for you.

* Do you have some guidelines/ best practise/ tips on preparing for an internal audit? # See my blog posts titled ‘Idiots Guide to IA’. This will give you an overview of the steps in the auditing process.

* Do you have any quick and dirty generic methodology I can replicate and apply… for a not-for-profit organisation? # Difficult as you need to specify the area you wish to review, rather than the whole organisation in one hit.

* Are you aware of any templates or specific areas that one needs to lay focus …. ? # Check out http://www.auditnet.org which may be of help.

* How do you go about auditing the “processes” within an organisation and how do you determine which processes to audit? # Normally the IA Plan would have been agreed by the Audit Committee in the first instant.

Depending on when you qualified, papers 2.6, 3.1 of ACCA syllabus are relevant. The latest syllabus covers IA in greater depth as it is growing industry. Hopefully you covered these in your studies.

Note, the blog concentrates on the life and times of an Internal Auditor, and isn’t an auditing resource as such. I comment on things which interest me in the profession (if you can called it a profession!), life in London and the people I meet along the way!

Hope this helps. Audit Monkey

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