How was your Halloween? I had a great one. Of course, I live in a neighborhood that not only embraces the spirit of this time of year (pun intended), but also understands the joys of internal audit. So we had a lot of internal audit themed costumes and decorations, and I have to say they made for some of the scariest I’ve ever seen.
As an example, one child wore a costume that was obviously a bank statement – starting balance, adjustments, deposits, checks, ending balance. It took us all a moment, and then we realized – there were no tick marks. It was an unreconciled bank statement!
There also seemed to be an accountant theme. Two kids dressed as accountants, kept glancing at each other, then looking the other way. An auditor’s worst nightmare – collusion. And another child dressed as an accountant would pull something from one pocket, pass it from one hand to the other, and then put it in the other pocket. Oh my gosh! No segregation of duties!
A few of the children went with costumes more specific to internal audit. One child had a list of dates down one side of his shirt, and blanks on the other side - missed milestones! Another was dressed as an audit document that only had one set of initials – an audit document without a second level of approval! And one child was painted black from the tips of his toes to the bottom of his chin. However, there was a red mark across his forehead. Yes, he was an unmet utilization requirement!
However, the scariest was a little girl dressed up with writing over every inch of her costume. “How cute” we all thought as we read phrases like “I stole the money” and “I needed money to support my habit” and “The company owed me that money, that’s why I took it.” And then the real horror hit. We searched and searched, and we couldn’t find it. She was an unsigned confession!
Of course, the neighborhood also did itself proud with the way they dressed up their houses. Children giggled in fright as they ran through one neighbor’s decorations – a teetering COSO cube that was missing control activities. Another neighbor went with an entire audit department theme – a veritable house of audit department horrors: Auditors without their CIAs, unsecured laptops with passwords prominently displayed on the desks, no evidence of metrics to measure the department’s success, and a CEA that reported to the Deputy Head of Compliance. Later, each of us admitted that we had a little chill of fright as we walked past their yard.
But I have to say, the absolute treasure of the night was the family – mother, father, sister, brother, and baby – who worked together on their costumes. Everyone but the baby was dressed in business attire; the baby was dressed as a report. They spent the entire night walking up and down the street with one person putting red marks on the report/baby and passing it to the next person, who would add red marks and pass to the next one, who would add red marks… You guessed it; they were a report review process. (I should note that the baby/report never got issued.)
So, did you see anything that scary on Halloween?