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Quote of the Week 28/11/14 November 30, 2014

Posted by Audit Monkey in Quote of the Week, The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit.
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This week’s quote comes from my old manager, Biggins. Biggins is now Head of Audit at an IT firm and gets the opportunity to wear casual attire, which in his case means rather flamboyant Ted Baker shirts.

Nevertheless, Biggins and I were having a chat on the telephone about life in general, auditing (as you do) and I casually mentioned a client exit meeting which had occurred earlier. By way of background, I had just completed a lengthy audit looking at an organisation’s arrangements for expenditure in different parts of the country. You can guess the findings, lack of detailed policy and procedures (now, there’s a surprise – I think we can take that as read), regional variations in process, an extravagant spending culture, poor record keeping, mis-statements, etc.

Anyway, I vaguelly knew what would happen at the exit meeting; the CFO would be appreciative and interested but the Financial Controller would be defensive. Sure enough, that’s how it panned out; the Financial Controller opened with:

“We know about most of these findings”, and by implication, the known weaknesses. However, this isn’t QOTW. When it mentioned this to Biggins, he laughed and said:

“So why did you get Audit in then?”

As Biggins went onto explain, why did you get Audit in if you knew what the problems were? I can only surmise that the Financial Controller don’t really care or in good old-fashioned audit-yuk-speak, they accepted the risk. Or was this another dereliction of duty moment, or were the problems so overwhelming it was a case of ‘live and let live’.

It does leave one feeling slightly deflated but what can you do. You’ve detailed the findings, told them how to fix it, job done. It’s abit like being a Doctor in some respects and the Doctor-patient relationship. Doctor to patient; ‘Here’s the meds, but at the end of the day, it’s your choice whether you take them. If you do, your health will improve; if you don’t, the long-term prognosis is your condition may get worse!’ I know auditing is a different ball game but all the same.

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