How to Handle Routine Audit Stops (Part II)

(In today’s installment, we continue quoting from the new “How to Handle Routine Audit Stops”, a handy brochure intended to provide you everything you need to know about surviving the routine audit stop.)

We have provided some basic guidelines on handling the routine audit stop. Next we will share some actual transcripts of stops that have two very different results. In our first example, we will show you an appropriate approach. We will follow that with an example of how things can quickly go horribly wrong.
Let’s start by looking at the appropriate way to handle the routine audit stop.
 “Sir, do you know why I dropped in?”
“Why no. Of course, I’m always glad to see Auditing. I know you are the eyes and ears of executive management and you have nothing but our best interests at heart. But I really am not sure of the purpose of this visit”
“Well sir, I greatly appreciate your support. You know, auditing is not an easy job, but it is employees like yourself who make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, this is a 90% compliance zone and you were doing 70%.”
“70%! Why I had no idea. I know my Quality Control Cruise was set a little low - 85% - but for it to have dropped to 70%... I just don’t understand.”
“Don’t worry, it happens to us all. Can I see your certifications and supporting documentation?”
“Yes, I have them right here. Again, I am so sorry. If you check, I haven’t had a single violation in the past. I am 100% behind what you do, and I’m 100% behind the controls and requirements we have. In fact, I’ve often said that setting a limit of 90% might not be enough. For me to have dropped to 70%, well… again, I just don’t understand.”
“Not a problem, I’ve checked and you are correct; you have no priors. In fact, you’ve got a pretty clean operation and your support is greatly appreciated. I think we can just let you off with a memo this time.”
“Thank you very much. And if, any time, I can donate to the Auditor’s Ball, just let me know.”
Now let’s see what happens when the routine audit stop is handled a little less professionally. 
“Sir, do you know why…”
“What do you want? Who have you been talking to? What lies have they been spreading?”
“Sir, I just need to…”
“You just need to what? Waste my time? Bother my employees? Disrupt my operations?”
“No sir, I just…”
“You just want to come in and trump something up, don’t you? I know how it is. You’ve got to find something to prove you’re ‘important’.   Well, I’ll have none of that here. Get out.”
“Sir, step back and sit down. I have an audit charter and I know how to use it.”
“Oh, big man. How important would you feel if you didn’t have that piece of paper?”
“Sir, you’re going to have to come with me.”
“Come with you? I refuse…”
(Speaking into cell phone) “I’ve got a code red. Send back up, send the CAATs team.”
“Wait a minute, there’s no need to…”
“I’m sorry sir.   It’s out of my hands. If you’ll just come along quietly I’m sure the Audit Committee will take that under consideration.”
And so, an inappropriate approach to the routine audit stop leads to heartache (and a long session with the CAE.)
We hope you have found this information useful. If you have any further questions, you can reach us at our website

Posted on Mar 1, 2011 by Mike Jacka

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  1. Thank you for this sentence : "step back and sit down. I have an audit charter and I know how to use it."

    It made me laugh in the middle of the openspace during 5 minutes ! But I don't know if I can share it with my colleagues who are not auditors (jurists).

    thank you again anyway : I have imagine the scene filmed and I wonder why Hollywood never choose a scenario about audit. But maybe I don't know all American movies, only the ones broadcasted in France.

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