Rebel Without a Condition, Criteria, or Cause (Part 2)

Some say that first hit of power happened way back when the government introduced FCPA into the system. Others think it was just that executives started spoiling the auditors — letting them start looking at more than just financial controls. But everyone agrees the big turning point was when auditors started calling themselves “consultants” and began talking about “engagements,” “customers,” and “clients.”  There were those who tried to fight it, those who warned that the risk of auditing must be mitigated. But it was too late — the auditors were hooked. They were “facilitators” and “risk experts.” And their addictions only got worse. ICQ, CSA, COSO, ERM — as soon as one addiction grew old, something would spring up to take its place. And with each new wrinkle, each new fad, the auditors gained more control. 

But along with the power came trouble. Former gang member Kenny “The K” Carroll puts it this way. “We were spoiled. We were getting away with a lot, and people were letting us do it. But it was ugly out there, too. The Outsourcing Wars were raging.” Kenny is referring to a turbulent time in the 90s when wide-ranging turf wars were occurring through most companies. Local gangs were forced to fight off national cartels (now often referred to as The Final Four) who wanted their own slice of the pie charts.

Kenny goes on to explain, “We had to be big. We had to be mean. We had to write everything up. It seemed like the one with the most findings always won. And we were fighting for our lives. But it all changed overnight. Soon there was enough for everyone. The government, the companies, everyone turned all power over to us. They gave us SOX.”

Yes, as addictive and destructive as their previous addictions had been, SOX (sometimes called crystal methods) gave the auditors a high they’d never experienced before, and it became the tool of choice. The auditors now ruled the halls. Boards couldn’t do anything unless the auditors had their SOX, CEOs were powerless to fight auditors on SOX, and every employee knew that the person who controlled the SOX controlled the company. Local problems had become an international concern.

To Be Continued…

Posted on Aug 12, 2009 by Mike Jacka

Share This Article:    

Leave a Reply