Rebel Without a Condition, Criteria, or Cause (The Final Chapter)

Kenny says he escaped just in time. “I thought we were unbeatable. Then one of them new kids joined the gang. You know the kind; they got a Masters in one hand and an attitude in the other. I took him under my wing, and I got him into the SOX right away. First meeting with a department head, the guy started givin’ us lip. The argument turned into a rumble. Yeah, we won. We always win. But the new kid — so new I never learned his name — wasn’t with us anymore. Well, you can’t just get one of the gang fired and not pay. The department was trashed in the next audit committee report and their budget was slashed. But that didn’t bring the kid back. That’s when I knew that kind of auditing was a dead end. I got out, found a real job, and made something of myself. Sure, I might have been riding high when I left, but tell me, what’s gonna happen when the SOX runs out?” 

Indeed, what will happen when the SOX runs out? With their “audit for today, worry about follow-up tomorrow” attitude, auditors don’t seem concerned. “The CAE” puts it this way: “The government controls the SOX, and they ain’t never gonna let it go away. And, even if they do, we almost had those cartels beat before. How many of ’em are left? We’ll just wipe the rest of ’em out with one report.”

Nobody wants a newly raging war. But if the SOX runs out, the Outsourcing Wars may have just been the beginning (or, as the gangs like to call it, the “pre-audit”).

There is still hope. Not every company lives in fear. Not every hallway is plagued by roving packs of control experts and issue finders. In many companies, the auditors are still that youthful promise of the future. But the growing trend is alarming. And it will take eternal vigilance to ensure it doesn’t get worse. You see, we are really the ones who are in control. Each of us can make a difference. All we have to do is … [remaining text redacted by order of the department of internal auditing]

Posted on Aug 13, 2009 by Mike Jacka

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