I don’t do a lot of international travel. No particular
reason, it just hasn’t come up much for me. But when I do travel, I fall into
the same habits I have at home … I watch a lot of television.
It’s always fascinating to see what U.S. shows come across to
other countries (or which ones we’ve stolen from them), but that isn’t the real
fun. No, you see, I’m also a bit of a sports fan, and I have learned to love
watching sports that are more popular in other countries.
In Canada, I find myself watching hours of curling. In
England, its rugby. And here in Australia, its Australian football.
Now, those of us who reside in the states have occasional access
to curling and rugby; we kind of know what is going on. But Australian football … not
so much. Some may remember in the 80s, when ESPN first started up, they were
looking for anything to fill time. (Anyone else remember “Swamp Buggy Races,” including
the “’Sippi Hole”?) And one of the things they occasionally played was (as they
called it) Australian Rules Football.
To try and describe the sport is probably a fool’s game, but
I will say it has the constant battle of rugby combined with some soccer
elements (much more kicking of the “ball” and trying to kick it through a goal) all on a round field.
Okay, that’s not a great description, but you try explaining
a sport you know to someone who knows nothing about it. (I was at a baseball
game with a co-worker from Italy. I had explained that the inning ended after
three outs. The visiting team began scoring a large number of runs. He asked a
question that made all the sense in the world if you were just trying to figure
out the game. “How many safes do they get?”}
So, suffice to say, I haven’t really got a clue what is
going on in Australian football. But it is a lot of fun trying to figure out
the rules strictly from what is occurring on the field and occasional remarks from
the commentators. Of course, I could look the rules up online, but where’s the
fun in that?
You see, part of my attraction to internal audit is the
solving of puzzles. Trying to sort out what is happening, determining the truth
in what is being said, digging down to the root causes of events.
To put it another way, I enjoy critical thinking.
And there’s that word that keeps creeping up in so many
discussions, the thing all CAEs say they want from their auditors.
If we want to be good internal auditors
(and we all want that, don’t we?), then we have to practice our craft in all
situations. That doesn’t mean we interview our hair dresser or develop CATs to
ensure appropriate computer usage by our children or put together complete
background, purpose, and scope reports regarding the way the postman delivers
the mail or develop an ICQ to use the next time we are stopped by a traffic cop.
What it does mean is applying skills that will help us
succeed as internal auditors — things like active listening, concise writing, and
relationship-building. And it means applying critical thinking in every
situation, even it is something as simple as trying to figure out why the television
channel that carries Australian football is called Fox FOOTY.
Now as for cricket ...