One of the many ways I communicate with internal auditors around the world is via social media. With more than 10,000 Twitter followers at @rfchambers and almost 10,000 connections on LinkedIn, it is a way to share information and ideas with a large cross-section of the profession. In fact, it is the 60 percent of my connections who reside outside North America who often demonstrate some of the greatest passion.
Over the summer, I increased the number of posts in which I shared an original perspective or idea — not just a link to my blog or other articles or media. I was astounded at the response, particularly on LinkedIn. Since August, these posts have received hundreds of thousands of views, thousands of "likes," and hundreds of comments. It is a great way to stimulate conversation.
Below are the seven most popular of those LinkedIn posts, along with my thoughts on why they attract so much attention.
1. Dear Audit Committee: We know the external auditors are more important to you than internal audit. However, the most lethal risks to shareholder value aren't financial. They're strategic, business, operational, and compliance risks. Guess who audits those?
This is by far the most popular post this year. At last check, it had been viewed more than 130,000 times on LinkedIn, with more than 1,400 likes and almost 100 comments. It was part of a series of "Dear Stakeholder" posts I shared during the dog days of summer. Admittedly, these posts are a bit cheeky — none more so than this one. Quite simply, I think it is immensely popular because it conveys pent-up frustration on the part of internal auditors who feel their work is often underappreciated — especially when compared with the work of external auditors.
2. Dear Audit Committee Chairman: When you ask me if I have enough resources, what do you expect me to say with the CFO and CEO sitting in the room? Ask me the top five risks I won't audit next year because of staff constraints.
This post has generated almost 600 likes and nearly 40 comments. As is true with the No. 1 post, this one is a mythical message to the audit committee. Its popularity stems from the fact that it cuts straight to the heart of the consequences of limited internal audit resources — the inability to address critical risks.
3. Internal auditors don't just deliver audit reports, they protect and enhance the value of the organizations they serve.
This post has generated more than 35,000 views, almost 600 likes, and more than 20 comments. It offers internal auditors a positive message, and it seems to tap into a sense of pride in the profession.
4. Internal auditors won't always agree with those they are auditing, but they should always demonstrate through their words and actions that clients have been heard and their responses considered.
This very recent post has generated a lot of positive reaction among my LinkedIn connections. With almost 40,000 views, more than 450 likes, and almost 40 comments, it serves to reinforce what many internal auditors understand is the best way to build and sustain long-term positive relationships with those we audit.
5. Sometimes your audits find the problems, and sometimes the problems find your audits. Always keep your door open during an internal audit for someone who wants to whisper something in your ear.
This post seems to provoke a lot of thought, and it is shared widely by those who like it. It has generated more than 40,000 views, 450 likes, and almost 30 comments in only a few days. I have always believed that we should keep an open door during an internal audit, and my LinkedIn connections seem to agree.
6. Dear Audit Committee: You tell us that you want internal audit to connect the dots and give you an overall opinion on the company's controls and risk management. Please remember, we don't have enough resources to give you absolute assurance.
Not all of my posts are met with overwhelming agreement. This post, which has generated more than 400 likes, also generated a few comments that scoffed at the very idea we would ever offer absolute assurance. Of course, that is true. However, internal auditors are often reluctant to offer opinions out of fear that they will be misinterpreted.
7. It's hard to audit at the speed of risk when your internal audit processes move at the speed of glaciers!
This very recent post has generated more than 25,000 views, over 300 likes, and 40 comments. It reinforces a message that internal auditors must be timely if their work is to add value. It also stresses the point that, in the 21st century, we must audit at the speed of risk.
These are but a few of the posts I have shared over the past few months. If you are not already connected with me on social media, I encourage you to join the dialogue today. You can connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-chambers-a5108914/
Share your thoughts on these and other posts either on social media or here on my blog.