Internal Auditor Reblog: The Conditions in Which You Think

The unwitting participants in the study were eight parole judges in Israel. They spend entire days reviewing applications for parole. The cases are presented in random order, and the judges spend little time on each one, an average of 6 minutes. (The default decision is denial of parole; only 35% of requests are approved. The exact time of each decision is recorded, and the times of the judges’ three food breaks — morning break, lunch, and afternoon break — during the day are recorded as well.) The authors of the study plotted the proportion of approved requests against the time since the last food break. The proportion spikes after each meal, when about 65% of requests are granted. During the two hours or so until the judges’ next feeding, the approval rate drops steadily, to about zero just before the meal. As you might expect, this is an unwelcome result and the authors carefully checked many alternative explanations. The best possible account of the data provides bad news: tired and hungry judges tend to fall back on the easier default position of denying requests for parole. Both fatigue and hunger probably play a role.

Mike Jacka writing for Internal Auditor explores the effect that our working conditions and environment have on our thinking, and the different roles that fast and slow thinking play in our work. He asks that the reader be aware of how the conditions in which they are thinking can affect (often unintentionally) the decisions they make.

As auditors (and as humans), honing a degree of self-awareness about how we are affected by the weather (or the bad traffic, or the argument we had last week with a family member, or the timing of lunch- whatever it may be) will help us look critically at our own thoughts. Are we actually making sound decisions? Or are we making rash and unfair decisions? What effect might this have on our work? And just as importantly, how can we counterbalance our fast thinking with slow thinking to make better decisions?

Read more here.

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IIA ReBlog: The Perils for Internal Audit of Donning a “Black Hat”

It’s easy to get typecast as wearing either a “white hat” or a “black hat” — as hero or enforcement villain. When an internal audit department is associated stro​​ngly with the type of investigations that result in terminations or even criminal prosecutions, it can be challenging for anyone in internal audit to be regarded as a true partner.

I don’t mean to imply that internal auditors should avoid participating in tough assignments, including investigations involving potential misconduct. Internal audit​​​ors can provide a unique and invaluable contribution. And, for smaller organizations, it may not be feasible to maintain separate internal audit and investigation teams. But one of the difficulties of taking on a “black hat” role is that changing roles may not be as easy as, well, changing your hat.

Richard Chambers discusses one of the challenges of being an internal auditor, and shares a few suggestions on how to balance the demands of the job with maintaining healthy and productive working relationships within an organization. Read more here.

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Internal Auditor Repost: Emotional Intelligence for Internal Auditors


Mike Jacka discusses the usefulness of emotional intelligence for internal auditors.

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Internal Auditor ReBlog: Are auditors dentists in disguise?

“I can’t wait until the next time I am audited” is something you hear about as often as “I can’t wait to go back to the dentist” Why is this the case?: 1) It takes time out of our day; 2) we might get criticized for something we already know (e.g., flossing, adequacy of procedures); and 3) it could end with painful financial, mental, and physical results. Depending on people’s past experiences, some would even say the auditors are the most dreaded people to enter their office.

But are we auditors truly so terrible as all that?

Seth Peterson, internal audit manager at the First National Bank in Sioux Falls, SD, draws out some of the ‘pain points’ that auditors can touch on- and asks how we as auditors can change an experience that can feel like pulling teeth to one that feels like a purposeful collaboration.

Read more here.

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Internal Auditor RePost: Toxic leaders, toxic culture

O’Connor often flashes back to his time as a loss-prevention officer at Tiffany & Co.’s in New York City, a busy store containing immensely valuable items. Each day, tourists would come into the store to marvel at the magnificent jewelry. “It was an amazing experience to stand and monitor the crowd: hundreds of people, all basically following the pattern of a shopper — except for the three or four people who are not, the toxic outliers,” he recalls. “It’s the same for managers in an organization. There are going to be those outliers. With our unique experience, internal auditors can help keep the honest people honest as well as identify the truly toxic leaders before they cause too much damage.”

Read more here if you are an IIA subscriber (it is behind a paywall, unfortunately) about how internal auditors can create positive change in the face of toxic forms of leadership, and how that change can cause a ripple effect that improves not only leadership, but the culture of an organization.

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Internal Auditor Reblog: The Dangers of Assessing Risk through a Political Lens

I’ve said before that risk assessment is as much art as it is science. There is always a subjective component to risk assessments, and subjectivity is never more evident than when issues are viewed through a political lens.

Richard Chambers, president and CEO of the IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors), discusses the dangers that risk assessments may hold when applied directly to politics, and has a few words of caution for internal auditors on the consideration of politically charged global risk assessments. Read more here!

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