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.
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.