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Legos and Internal Audit ​

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​My four-year-old is really into Legos these days. With the Christmas holidays recently behind us, we have lots of new Legos in our house (this was clearly the gift of choice this holiday season). With that in mind, we've spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks playing with Legos. In a way, it takes me back to my own childhood when my brothers, cousins, and I would spend countless hours at my grandmother's house playing with Legos.

Some of the Legos that my little boy received were part of a kit and came with very detailed instruction books, some of which exceeded 100 steps. Others of the Legos were free-form, not associated with any specific creation. Needless to say, we've had lots of fun (and frustration) building and constructing our various creations.

Sometimes, my husband and I were tempted to help our little boy by putting the kits together by sight (recognizing that a four-year old wants the finished product, but may not always be patient enough to put it all together by himself), choosing to look at a picture of the finished product, versus following the step-by-step instructions. These efforts weren't always successful for us. In some cases, we thought we were done, only to find extra pieces that we hadn't used or creations that didn't quite work the way they were intended to work.

In other cases, we found we had just as much fun with the free-form Legos, designing and building things that were fun for us, but most likely wouldn't mean anything to anyone outside our family. However, not having to be bound by an instruction book provided for creativity that we may not have otherwise had.

In many ways, our experiences with Legos are a lot like the internal audit process. Following the guidance that has been provided, such as the Standards, allows for the structure to ensure our audits meet the quality that we expect of ourselves. However, using creativity in the internal audit process may also allow us to hone in on risks that we may otherwise have missed, or allow us to spend less time on items that we've audited in the past that are not as significant in the grand scheme. 

Further, Legos allow my little one to continually learn and develop new skills. For example, some of the kits that he received were beyond his skill level based on age alone. However, his desire to build the items outweighed any of the age recommendations on the packaging. In addition, playing with the free-form Legos shaped his creativity and imagination. Similarly, this applies in the internal audit world, whether we're being imaginative in trying new things or approaches, or pushing our limits to prepare for the next level in our careers.

So, who wants to play Legos?

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