That is Not Logical, Sir

I won the lottery today. (No, not the big money. You think I’d be bothering with this if I’d hit a couple million dollars? Okay, maybe I might, but that’s a problem for another day.) I checked my Powerball numbers this morning and had hit three of the five numbers (with no power ball). WOW! What are the odds of that?! (Actually, they are about one chance out of 300. I looked it up.) So, with visions of money (not great amounts of money, but money nonetheless) dancing in my head, I went to the web site to learn just what kind of fantastic profit I’d made on my $20 investment. 

Seven bucks.
Auditors have a reputation for being a rather logical bunch. Our work is general couched in such terms as analysis and reasoning and testing and calculation and verification and substantiation and examination and separation and investigation and proofination and supportination and iterations of ation after ation. 
And yet, we still buy lottery tickets.
Knowing the odds; knowing that a 300 to one bet will pay seven dollars; knowing the risk relative to the reward; knowing that it is a poor investment; knowing that it is a sucker bet, a fool’s game, a shot in the dark, a losing proposition, a Goliath with no David, a horse so dark it cannot be seen, an odds-off wager that has less likelihood of happening than being struck by lightning/an earthquake/a meteorite/a modicum of intelligence – in spite of all this, auditors buy lottery tickets. 
We may try our best to practice logic and common sense, but we cannot help being who we are. (Who is that? Hint: it rhymes with buman heings.) And we may expect logic and common sense from those we audit, but why expect more of them than we should expect of ourselves? Judgmentalism doesn’t suit anyone. And auditors are no less immune from this poorly fitting suit; we have all the same foibles as those we audit.
In other words, everyone buys lottery tickets. Cut the lottery buyers the same slack you cut yourself.

Posted on Dec 11, 2011 by Mike Jacka

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  1. I bought a lottery ticket one time- late May'92- the inception in our state of the great "savior" of education. We stopped for gas on the way to our daughter's high school graduation; and she wanted a lottery ticket. So I bought one, handed it to her, and said: happy graduation- now "you" can pay for college. An equitable benefit -to public education and her Baylor education! [Congratulations RGIII! Sic em' Bears!]

    Great article- more than valid point and well taken - a mindset I have tried to instill in practice and in my audit students, noting the ease with which it will come to mind at 1st inkling of some findings! Thanks!


  1. That's why I only play nickel slots in odds are always stacked against you with any gambling...but if you only lose a little and have fun doing it...then where is the harm really?

  1. I agree with Julie If there is nothing much to loose why not have fun......?

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