I just found out my parents read my blog. Dude. I just found out my PARENTS read my blog. I mean…Dude. My PARENTS…READ…MY…BLOG. Really. Dude, my parents read MY blog. I mean… really…my PARENTS read my blog. Really. I mean… Dude!
(Dang. What have I written about? Please tell me I didn’t talk about that time…no. Not stupid enough to bring that up in public. Safe on that one. I know I talked about my Dad and some of his investigation stuff; I’m sure I talked about Mom’s writing. I don’t think I’m in trouble for that. Dude – my parents! Please tell me I didn’t swear! Did I blame them for my sense of humor? After all, it is their fault. But I don’t necessarily want to blame them in public. Wait, does a rambling, parenthetical aside count as blaming in public? What did I just do? Wait a minute, there was that time I wanted to write about…no, didn’t do that one either. Sheesh. I need a drink. No, no, I mean tea. In fact I’m drinking tea write now – Earl Gray – Twining’s to be exact. Honest. I swear. Not that kind of swear. I mean…Sheesh!)
Everything changes when someone is looking over your shoulder. Which raises the question, just how many people look over our shoulders when we write an audit report?
Well, first there is the Auditor-in-Charge whose job is to make sure every single word is properly supported in the workpapers meaning a barrage of minutia-focused review notes and corrections requiring rewrites of the workpapers themselves before requesting a rewrite of the report followed by another rewrite of the report and then a rewrite that he likes to call the first rough draft of the report and for which he is willing to take full responsibility unless it needs to be rewritten again.
Next is the Audit Manager whose job is to ensure that everyone knows she knows exactly what is going on and that she has the “pulse” of audit which she feels can be exhibited best by asking for “a couple of small changes” to the rough draft which usually means two major rewrites that so completely change the report that you can actually turn in the first draft you gave the Auditor-in-Charge (which is just as well because, since you did most of the audit work, you probably had the best idea what was going on in the first place) and it really doesn’t matter because the whole point of the manager asking for those rewrites was never to make a better report but to make sure it had her “spin”.
Next are the auditees whose only concern is to make themselves look good and, in spite of your having spent unending weekly meetings updating them on the progress of the audit and in spite of ensuring they understood the purpose of the audit and in spite of spelling out every step of the audit process and in spite of discussing every issue, large and small, as each arose and in spite of working with them to develop appropriate corrective action and in spite of getting every form of agreement shy of a signed affidavit, notarized, with an 8x10 glossy containing circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back, in spite of all that, when they actually see it in the black and white of a printed piece of paper they completely disagree and say they were never told and they will need to talk to the CAE because they’ve never been so insulted.
Next is the CAE who deigns to speak to the auditors every once in a while to “see how things are going” and to ask “so, have you seen any good risks lately” and to joke about the good old days when the wounded were grateful to be bayoneted and then holes back up in his office to use his dart board or wheel of fortune or magic 8-ball or Ouija board or words randomly chosen from the dictionary in order to come up with those ferkakteh audits that wind up on the plan which is how this audit wound up in your lap with a strong implication that, if there were no findings, then you weren’t even looking, but he still wants to make sure the auditee is happy with the report.
Next is the audit committee who are a nameless, faceless group of (you assume) old, grey, bearded men who sit around and reminisce about when the Hindenburg went down and are still trying to figure out what happened to slide rules and think risk is just another word for nothing left to lose, but they get together (so you’ve heard) once every few months, whether they need to or not, to discuss whatever it is they discuss and, every once in a while, pass judgment on the words that are written by lowly auditors like you.
And, finally, hovering over your proverbial shoulder through every single step of the writing process is the little editor whispering “helpful” hints into your ear (generally wearing a devil’s costume and, unlike what we have been led to believe by years of Warner Brothers cartoons, in this case there is no angel on the other shoulder because there is no angel in report writing) and he’s the one that reminds you that you can never remember the difference between affect and effect and thunders out “too much passive voice, too much passive voice” and reminds you of that report 5 years ago where you misstated the out-of-balance by 10% and that hints your boss never liked you in the first place and that causes you to rewrite the rewrites of your own rewrites five extra times.
And with all those people watching, is it any reason we have trouble getting a report out on time?
(And, seriously, I just found out my parents read my blog.)