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Quote of Week WK/E 26/03/13 March 30, 2013

Posted by Audit Monkey in Quote of the Week, The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit.
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As you can appreciate, Internal Auditors aren’t the most popular people. We are on the receiving end of a lot ‘verbals’. This week’s quote is indicative of this but somewhat surprisingly, it came from a friend rather than a foe.

To set the scene, I was in the office with my boss (Head of Internal Audit) and a Non-Executive Director. The problem; the firm may have broken the law with regard to employee privacy. Nothing too serious but let’s say there has been a ‘data protection’ and ‘disclosure’ problem. Trying not to say too much, the firm is monitoring employee movements but hasn’t told them.

The Head of IA is voicing their concerns to the Non-Executive that a breach may have occurred but it hasn’t gone too far, so much so, the problem can be mitigated. Of course, Mr.Non-Executive is having none of this and doesn’t see the issue or pretends not to. Head of IA thinks that they have an ally with Mr.Non-Exec but it is soon dawning on those observing that Mr.Non-Exec doesn’t give a stuff and is more interested in their attendance fee. Sensing that Head of IA is struggling, I (naively) waded into the debate and said the firm ought to seek legal opinion from er, In House Legal Counsel, as to whether a breach has occurred and if so, how to fix it. I drew on my own copious experience and said a breach had probably occurred. Can we guess the Non-Exec’s reply?

“It sounds like your against the firm. You are either with us or against us!”

What a load of rot. It’s at moments like this your remember why I don’t bother to argue audit points back and forth. To misquote another famous phrase, I tell them only once. If they don’t get it, or don’t want to see sense, and wish to blither ahead, so be it.

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Comments»

1. ITauditSecurity - March 30, 2013

Anyone who fears a legal opinion from their own company counsel is either stupid or hiding something, or both.

I would have replied (after first judging the expression of the Head of IA as to whether I should), “As an auditor, I must remain objective and cannot take sides. However, the house legal counsel is definitely for the firm, and will provide guidance that is in the company’s best interests.”

So Monkey, are you saying that the Head of IA had nothing to say?

ITauditSecurity - May 14, 2013

Hey Monkey,
Please press the “RESPONSE” button soon. I’m waiting to hear from you! 😦

2. Audit Monkey - May 15, 2013

Hi ITAS, There wasn’t much more to add on this one, hence the lack of reply. Suffice to say, In House Counsel knew very little about the law and ’employment movements’, so the monitoring, be it legal or illegal, continues.


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