From the Mind of Mike Jacka No Description Blogo Wed, 30 Jul 2014 03:03:16 GMT en-us Josh Shelton How about: 

A preponderance of evidence; or

A tsunami of issue followup

]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:39:44 GMT
Mike Jacka I like that one Steve.  As you note, a great way to get a feel for how broad the individual's world view might be.

I would often asked a similar question:  "What is the last book you've read?"  As you note, it gave me insight into the broadness of the candidate's perspectives.  But I would then follow it with this:  "Tie that in with internal audit."  First, it was surprising how many people's most recent book wasn't a business book, and that instantly made the candidate start working for parallels they hadn't thought of.  It was a great "catch them off guard" question, and an excellent test of their creativity and ability to think quickly.

By the way, HR never liked the questions I asked.  However, we never got sued.


]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:13:44 GMT
Steve McNally  Totally agree with need for variety in reading. One of the questions I like to ask when interviewing candidates for internal audit positions is "tell me about the last three books you read ". Identifies breadth of thinking and ability to adapt ideas. 

]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 05:01:54 GMT
Mike Jacka Great points Kim.

Far too often auditors are afraid of giving clean audit reports.  In the first place, the question I have heard time and time again, "How does a clean audit report provide any value?"  Coming from the insurance industry, this is a little like hearing "Why do I need insurance if I haven't had a claim?"  It is all about piece of mind.  You have insurance to put your mind at ease about potential accidents in the future; you have a clean audit report to put your mind at ease about the way a process is currently working.

In the second place, auditor's are far too fearful of being caught in an error.  "What if I give a clean report and something actually was wrong?"  Well, it's not the most ideal situation, but it happens (as my stories indicate.)  And, you know what?  Auditing goes on and is still seen as adding value and is still seen as a partner and is not diminished in the eyes of the stakeholders (unless there are more negative stories than positive.)

So, while I will continue to use this series of posts to talk about the lessons learned from big mistakes (with any luck, part two should be posted in the next hour or so), you are right to point out that this doesn't mean auditing should avoid clean reports.  If, in  the opinion of the auditor, audit management, and all involved, the control structure is effective, then report it that way.

Again, thanks for bringing up this point - one that is important enough I'll probably use it as part of the finale in this series.


]]> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:20:36 GMT
Kim I've seen both.  I've seen an audit on IT security (in the wake of the Societe Generale debacle) given a clean bill of health where I was able to access client information in an unsecured drive and I found an individual who still had access to his system in his role 3 years prior which was signed off by his manager as appropriate. 

I've also been on audits where "management know that something is wrong" but there wasn't anything serious that we found.  Yes, in prior years there was something wrong - it was fixed - and actually they were overcontrolling the risk to the detriment of the business - but management never trusted them or our prior reports.  Giving a clean bill of health is one of the scariest things I did, but it was the correct thing to do.

]]> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:03:27 GMT
ARIEL OLIVERO En verdad leer este artículo me llena de satisfacción, lo que confirma que no estoy solo en un mundo de fantasía...cual ilusionista y soñador de lo imposible. Siempre he puesto en práctica el concepto de la creatividad en auditoria interna, tomando en cuenta que no siempre 2+2=4, como puede ser 1, también 5. Y salir de los viejos paradígmas del centro nos permitirían ver los aspectos más relevantes que nos conducirían al éxito en nuestro trabajo. A veces los grandes hallazgos están en los márgenes, no en el centro, y la creatividad nos ayuda a expandir nuestros procesos mentales y nos permiten ir más allá de los que alcanzan los ojos...

Excelente reflexión.

]]> Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:32:09 GMT
Mike Jacka Here's the interesting thing.  I really don't know about the external audit side.  My experience has been (unfortunately) with the internal audit side.  I find it surprising and a bit disheartening how many people share stories of "I would have liked to, but there wasn't time."  I like to think everyone of them might have been right, but I hear it too often for it to always be true.


]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 05:42:56 GMT
David Griffiths Mike. You are right but I suspect the reluctance to chase the unexpected arises from the need to hit budget and failing to hit personal targets (and therefore suffer a poor appraisal) if one doesn't. This is probably more likely in external audit than internal audit, where the staff timetable should be more flexible and staff can therefore spend extra time (i.e. go over budget) looking at exceptions. I would suspect that many important scientific discoveries have been made by examining 'blips' in data instead of dismissing them as 'erroneous results'. The same is probably true for internal auditors.

]]> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 17:46:27 GMT
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]]> Sat, 24 May 2014 11:22:22 GMT
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]]> Sat, 24 May 2014 11:18:31 GMT
James Hansen  What does it say about me that I just played the real song in the background while I sang along to your lyrics?

Beware of the Mind of Jacka!

]]> Fri, 16 May 2014 02:35:38 GMT
Mike Jacka Michael,

Some very good suggestions.  In particular, I really like your approach of trying to fill the gaps that exist in your own make up.  One of the bigger problems in internal audit is that we hire ourselves, and I think that is part of why we keep getting the same results.  I believe that is why everyone has so much trouble creating creative audit departments - the bosses aren't creative, so they don't hire creative people.  (My problem went the other way - sometimes I focused so much on creativity I missed the need to get things done.)  By recognizing the shortcomings of the department (and the leader), then hiring to fill those gaps, the result is a much more well-rounded department.


]]> Tue, 13 May 2014 18:23:04 GMT
Michael Ryan Mike,  In my most recent set of interviews, I began focusing on "what I care about" and making sure to ask questions about that.  For example, I am not a great relationship builder, so I made sure to ask questions of my candidates to find people who are.  And I have now hired two people who excel in that area.  I applied the same logic to the more technical areas, but you get the idea.  If you need/ want/ gotta have a tic and tie auditor, SAP expert, manufacturing reporting guru, whatever, I found it was really useful to structure the interview around those points.  Especially in this time when we as a profession are hiring people with varied backgrounds, talking about what we care about makes sure we have diversity of perspectives and talents, but the same purpose and values.

]]> Tue, 13 May 2014 18:17:01 GMT
David Griffiths Mike - too true, and you haven't added the recruitment agencies in who find out the questions from the firdt candidate and then prime all the other candidates. We introduced questions relevant to the job: what do you think the risks are when opening a new store/ manufacturing pharmaceuticals/placing funds in the money market/operating a computer network? You can test the candidates kowledge but, more importantly, see how they deal with the unexpected.

]]> Fri, 09 May 2014 19:52:30 GMT
Mike Jacka Josh - could be.  However, that might imply more interaction than the flu allows.


]]> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 17:58:26 GMT
Josh Shelton Prequel to The Walking Dead?

]]> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 15:27:47 GMT
David Griffiths Mike. If there isn't a comic-orientated convention near your readers, can I suggest the books of Edward de Bono on lateral thinking as a start? On a more practical front, internal auditors could start by redesigning their reports. Give your staff a challenge - design a report that the board would be surprised to receive.

]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:53:54 GMT
Mike Jacka Great idea!  We'll have to add that to the next catalogue.


]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:08:00 GMT
David Griffiths Mike. You've not mentioned the assurance blanket. This blanket, signed by CEOs and Chief Financial Officers, guarantees a good night's sleep for budding internal auditors because nothing can possibly go wrong,,,

]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:48:36 GMT
Cheryl Johannes Brings to mind the saying..."you can agree to disagree."

]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:32:16 GMT