I just received another excellent suggestion from an audit shop that wishes to remain nameless. (The humility of some of our profession’s greatest thinkers sometimes amazes me.) They were faced with two problems. First, they seemed to be spending countless hours negotiating findings with the auditees – hours they felt could be better served conducting more audits. Second they felt they were also wasting those precious hours following up on findings that were really the responsibility of the auditee.
Their solution was deceptively simple. They developed a simple complaint form to be attached to the front of every audit report. This form lets the auditee decide how best they want to settle the issue. There is no more need for discussion or for follow-up. And, by building in a series of “cost sharing” fee structures as well as side agreements with various training providers, they have found an income generator that, I must admit, most of us have ignored.
Following is a portion of the complaint form. Just fill in the blanks.
Notice of Reportable Situation and Complaint
(See Appendix A “Identification of Complaint Numbers” for additional details)
Nature of complaint:
__ Violation of company policy #_____________
__ Violation of Federal/State/Local regulation #_____________
__ Lying to an auditor
__ Not getting us that support quite as quickly as we had hoped
__ Pretending to not be in the office when we came for interviews
__ Fraud or Embezzlement (See Appendix B-1 “Special Employment Considerations”)
If you fail to acknowledge this complaint (see below for options) by the date shown in Appendix C-1 “All the Dates You Need to Know”, you will be subject to receiving additional audit reports and will be assessed the cost incurred by the Audit Department in producing such reports, pursuant to company policy. (See Appendix D – “Company Policies You Never Knew About But Now Wish You Did.”
You are summoned to appear before the great and powerful Chief Audit Executive on the date listed on Appendix C – 2 “Some Additional Darned Important Dates”
Your options to acknowledge and satisfy this finding are:
Option “A”: Correct the Deficiency
To correct the deficiency by mail, complete “Option ‘A’ – Steps We Promise to Take”. Return this with any supporting documentation in the enclosed postage-paid envelope. Responses (with scanned documentation) are also accepted on line at www.HonestWe'reReallyGonnaDoThis.com/honest/really. If you submit on line, you do not need to send in the Option "A" document. If you select Option “A” on a fraud or embezzlement charge, you will also be required by the Audit Committee to attend Audit Survival School and will be responsible for the class cost. Only after attending this school will a final decision be made on your future. (See Appendix B-2 “Of Course We’ll Listen to Your Side”.)
Option “B”: Request a Hearing
If you wish to contest this finding, complete “Option ‘B’ – Just Who Do You Think You Are to Think You Know My Job Better than Me” and return it in the enclosed postage-paid envelope before your hearing date. You will be notified by e-mail of your new hearing date (ensure your e-mail address is correct.)
You may file a written request for Hearing for Absentia. You must explain why visiting the Internal Audit department would cause substantial hardship. A substantial hardship is more than mere inconvenience, not being able to stand the sight of those guys, that it is too much work going all the way to the lowest level of the basement, or I just don’t want to. It must be based on extraordinary circumstances (and, no, “they are a bunch of pea-brains” is not extraordinary circumstances.) Please refer to www.ImGonnaFindSomeWayOutOfThis.com/helpme and click on “Forms/Excuses” in “Hearing Information” to download the Hearing in Absentia request form.
Remember that many people request hearings and a significant backlog exists. Your hearing may take up to six months. Until that time, you will be working under “Suspicion of Guilt” and any related expenses will be journaled from your paycheck to the audit budget.
Option “C”: Attend a Defensive Finding School
If selecting this option you do NOT have to take any corrective action, you only pay a fee to attend the school. Nothing is required to be mailed in or returned for this option. You must register for class via the Defensive Finding website or by calling the Defensive Finding Information line listed below. The Audit Department cannot register you. The Audit Department will receive ALL registration and completion information directly from the school. You can trust us and our controls; we’re the auditors.
You are not eligible to attend Defensive Finding School if you have taken a Defensive Finding school in this company for the dismissal of a prior finding within the last 24 months. You do not have to appear before the Chief Audit Executive if you successfully complete the class, the finding will not be reported to the audit committee, and you will not be charged with a repeat finding in future audits.