Read Richard Chambers' Latest Blog:
Internal Auditors Must Live in a Shatterproof House
In his blog, Richard Chambers, CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA, shares his personal reflections and insights on the internal audit profession. Here's an excerpt from his latest blog:
I have long believed that internal auditors have a tougher challenge than many others in an organization. It's difficult to sustain a reputation for objectivity when we live and work in the same environment where we perform our audit responsibilities — sometimes for a few years, sometimes over an entire career. Everyone is watching internal audit to see if we are walking the talk. I have heard of us referred to as "example setters for an organization," and that we are "constantly assessed by those we audit." I call it having a target on our back. If internal audit is not following organizational policies, or even appears to not be following policies, the fallout will affect trust in the department and every internal auditor in it.
No one expects internal auditors to be flawless. We are human, after all. However, if the flaws cause others to question our ethics, we will lose a significant advantage that will likely undermine our ability to be perceived as trusted advisors. If management is aware of even minor ethical transgressions, their response when we offer advice or recommendations at the conclusion of our engagements is likely to be, "Why should I listen to him? He takes vacation days without charging them." Or, "She filed a faulty expense report and had to reimburse the company."
Internal auditors cannot afford the luxury of being vulnerable. Our behavior must be above reproach, if we are to provide counsel to others. And don't be surprised if, the first time you call out a senior manager for a serious ethical infraction, suddenly every minor infraction you ever committed is thrown back at you.