​​Lessons Learned on the Audit Trail: A Review

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Richard Chambers, President and CEO of The IIA and a gentleman I consider a friend, has written an interesting book that describes "life-based lessons on strategies for success for internal auditors and CAEs."

I decided to purchase a copy and see what he has to say. Neither he nor anybody else asked me to review it, and they don't have any clue what I am going to say!

Well, I think this is a good read and recommend it to every striving internal auditor.

There's a lot of good stuff here, in addition to which you can learn something about Richard's background and how he was able to reach a pinnacle of our profession.

I like:

  • The focus on risk. These days, every internal auditor should start with the risks that matter to the organization and then assess how well the organization's processes and controls manage them. The old way of starting with a significant part of the business, assessing its controls, and then seeing whether any deficiencies matter to the business should be considered not just old but obsolete. But that's me talking and while Richard will lead you there, he is far more diplomatic in his choice of words.
  • The emphasis on relationships. This is perhaps the most interesting and useful aspect of the book. If you are to be successful both in your current position, influencing others and effecting change, and in your longer term career, you need to establish and nurture your network. Richard achieved success, promotion, and recognition because he managed those relationships well.
  • The discussion of how we need to move from hindsight to insight and foresight. If we are to be seen as valued advisors that make a contribution to the success of the organization, and if we are to merit and attain a seat at the (grown-up) table, we need to provide assurance and advice that helps the organization succeed. That means it must be relevant to the issues on the agendas of the board and executive management, issues relevant to the organization's path forward and not what they are leaving behind.

One point of criticism doesn't affect my recommendation to buy this book. What it does is lead me to suggest that you read it as professional auditors, asking yourself whether you agree with each of his points and why. A critical read will help ensure that his valuable messages are deeply and truly understood and absorbed.

Have you read the book? Do you have anything to share?

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