​​New Year's Resolutions - A Reply

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Well, not everyone seems to have agreed with the resolutions I provided last Monday​. In fact, here is one "fan" who begs to disagree with my approach.

Dear Mr. Jacka,

It was with disgust that I read your so-called "resolutions" for internal auditing. It was my desperate hope that this was another of your posts which you consider "humorous."  But I was sorely disappointed. Apparently, you were quite serious. (I admit that I do not understand these attempts at being funny and often have trouble telling if you are joking or not. In fact, I wouldn't put it past you to pass this letter off as more of your "hilarity.")

Not only did these "ideas to make us better" have little or nothing to do with internal audit, they also were an excellent example of the namby-pamby approach that too many auditors use in today's "kinder gentler" auditing departments. There was a time when we had power. There was a time when we struck fear in the hearts of those we approached. There was a time when being an internal auditor really meant something. 

With that in mind, I would like to propose the following resolutions – resolutions that have teeth, that show what we can really do, that can help drive us forward to the destiny that could have been ours in our past.

Start all meetings by explaining that the audit charter lets us look at anything we want, no matter what the auditee thinks.

Have at least one finding per audit. There is no such thing as a finding that is too "picky."

Every word, every punctuation mark, and every piece of formatting in every document produced by every audit employee must be perfect, no matter how many rewrites it takes.

Never let a finding be mitigated by an impact on efficiency. The only thing that matters is building as many controls as possible.

At every meeting, remind the CEO that you work for the Audit Committee. (If you don't report to the Audit Committee, vow to do whatever it takes to rectify the situation.)

Put so much pressure on your auditors that they are constantly running to other departments. (Turnover within an audit department is a sign that it is helping develop future leaders.)

Once per quarter there should be at least one termination resulting from audit results.

Measure anything that can be measured. It is the only way you can show the success of your department.

Spend less time worrying about risks and more time on things people are doing wrong. Identifying risks is the company's job; internal audit's is finding the errors.

Handle all information on a "need to know" basis, and most people don't need to know.

Bayonet the wounded. In addition, bayonet the unharmed and the already dead.

That, Mr. Jacka, is a set of resolutions we can all get behind. If you are any kind of an internal auditor, you will disavow any support you may have had for your gutless resolutions and climb on board this train that is steaming toward internal audit's real future.


Jerry Michaels

Wow, makes you wonder if some people can take a joke. Okay, you've seen the spectrum. Any resolutions you'd like to throw in?

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