This morning my husband and I took our little boy on his first trip on an airplane. We spent the weeks leading up to our trip talking it up and discussing how much fun it would be to ride on an airplane. We talked about how air travel allows us to get from point A to point B much more quickly than it would take to drive the same distance. We talked about airports and travelers from all different places and all the people who support the air travel industry.
The interesting thing is that having spent a good part of my career to date traveling from audit site to audit site, flying has become routine for me. Whether I'm walking through the airport or sitting in the airplane, I often quickly tune out the things around me and focus on whatever task it is that I am trying to get done.
With that in mind, flying with a four year old, who was new to the whole flying thing, really was a fun experience. As we went through the security line, waited to board the plane, taxied down the runway, took off, and landed, I saw each step through new eyes, from the perspective of someone who had never experienced it before. All of a sudden, each step of something that had once been routine was now a new and exciting experience.
As I reflected on this, it made me think about the way we approach the internal audit process. Sometimes it can be tempting to go through the motions without stepping back and thinking about the bigger picture, and what we are trying to achieve. However, if we approach the internal audit process this way, we are missing out on a real opportunity to help the organizations that have tasked us with this critical role. Beginning a new audit with a "check the box" or "same as last time/year" mentality versus a risk-focused mentality can lead to the risk of not only missing out on critical threats to the process that we are auditing, but can also negatively impact internal audit's reputation within the organization.
To take it a step further, think back to your first internal audit. If you're like me, you asked a ton of questions, to both complete the audit as well as to learn as much as possible about the business and the process being audited. Embarking on a career in internal audit was truly an exciting experience, made even better by the fact that I was getting paid to do something that was fun and fulfilling for me. As my career has progressed, internal audit has become a core part of who I am. And although I may be past the excitement of my first audit, it is satisfying to stop and think about the role that internal auditors play within our organizations and the organizations we work with.