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​When Internal Audit Doesn't Matter

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You should know that I had a large number of words written for what I thought would be my next blog post. They were profound; they were stunning; they would most likely have changed your life.

However, life has decided, on its own, to come in and change our lives. A lot is happening around us.

Politics in the U.S. continues to take twists and turns that mean, no matter what happens, impactful changes will occur and a sizable number of people will be unhappy.

There is great fear regarding the coronavirus — some unfounded; some founded — as people try to come to grips with the deadly impacts that may occur worldwide.

And, as I write this, oil prices are taking a dangerously precipitous fall and the stock market has gone beyond the tanking stage to never-before-seen decreases.

Internal auditors spend a seemingly inordinate amount of time talking about risks. It is key to our job. And part of that job is helping organizations prepare for risks that are to come. We must have that focus to succeed in our mandates.

And, while we do a pretty good job (and, in spite of the specter at the feast approach I often use regarding internal audit’s need to change, I believe we do, indeed, do a good job), risks will occur. And that means we have to live through the results of inadequate mitigation or the impact of risks for which no one was prepared.

Today, we are all facing such risks, sitting in a perfect storm of expected and unexpected risks that are coalescing into an unanticipated maelstrom of loss. As an internal auditor — and as someone who writes about internal audit — it would be real easy to start waxing eloquent about internal audit’s role in what is occurring, how we might have helped organizations look out for them, and what lessons we might learn.

But you know what? We’re living it right now. And, somehow, a discussion about what should’ve/could’ve been done seems a bit … inconsequential.

Watching what is happening around the world — watching the impact we are beginning to see on our fellow inhabitants of this planet — I can’t find the wherewithal to build up the moxie required to take on such topics. All I can think about is what each of us, right now, can do. How we can help others in pain, how we can help try to change things, and how we can act like human beings toward our fellow human beings.

The lessons to be learned can wait until tomorrow.

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