What Auditors Say; What Management Hears

We auditors are a horribly misunderstood lot. We speak plain, ordinary English, but our clients and customers consistently misconstrue what we say. We know exactly what we mean, but others derogatorily claim we use “Auditese.” How can we do any more than say exactly what we want to say? There seems no way to fight it. So, to help us all better understand the miscommunication that is occurring, I provide the following comparison of what auditors say to what management hears. (With thanks to Larry Hubbard who came up with the idea and supplied some of these translations.)

What the Auditor Says
What Management Hears
Best Practices
One of us read a book about this a while ago.
We can also provide consulting services.
We will be glad to tell you the time by reading your own watch.
Effective Opinion
We already met our quota this week.
Needs Improvement
We’re here to help you.
Can you please show us to the wounded?
Risk Assessment
Tell us where you think the problems are so we can report them
We’ve identified some risks and wondered if you had thought about them.
You may have been managing this department for years, but we’re sure you never thought of anything this basic.
We’d like to share our preliminary results.
You’ve got three seconds to start coming up with answers.
Value add
Nickel and dime ideas painted to look like gold doubloons
We maintain our independence and objectivity.
We’ve been in our ivory tower so long we wouldn’t know real work if it hit us in our computer bags.
Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Gobbledy, gook, and nonsense
We’ve identified a breakdown in controls.
You’ll be spending another half a million to close this five dollar loophole.
We’d like to set up a meeting with you.
Please check. Yes, indeed. Just what you needed. Another hole in the head.

 So what do you think management hears?

Posted on Jun 21, 2011 by Mike Jacka

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  1. What the Auditor Say: Our opinion in this regard is ........ 

    What managers hear: We know every thing and this is what you have to do.

    and I want to add "What managers would response to the Audit Committee: Your auditor can't teach us what to do!"

    Common guys... It was just an opinion!

  1. What the A says ; First of all, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the management for their assistance...

    What Mgt hears : last meal before the death sentence

  1. What IA says: 1) We're reviewing that process...

                              2) There's a fraud suspect...

    What Mgmt hears: 1) They´re controlling...so, IA is responsable

                                      2) IA is going to capture them and putting them into jail...

  1. Great stuff guys.  I don't know about anyone else, but I was laughing out loud.

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