Today I remembered a very important fact; a concept so fundamental I was amazed I had forgotten it. I can’t tell you when I forgot it. I can’t tell you why I forgot it (probably lost in the detritus of work.) And I can’t really tell you what event it was that helped me remember it. All I know is that, approximately one hour ago (as I type this), I remembered one of the main reasons I love auditing so much.
I am hard-pressed to believe there is any other job – ANY other job (shy, maybe, of the highest executive managers) – where you are asked to change gears so drastically on a daily basis. I don’t just mean change from first to second; I mean change the gears and the vehicles. I mean start in fifth gear with a Porsche then click into tenth speed on a Schwinn then skip shift from first to fourth in a Corvette then motor brake to second in a Peterbilt then double-clutch to fourth in a GTO and finally grind on first in a VW Bug. (Automatic transmissions need not apply.)
Here’s the sample of gears and vehicles that I faced in today’s meetings, discussions, and real work – situations where I had to actually pay attention and contribute: construction projects, development of auditor-in-charge skills, investment sales, where to go for lunch (okay, maybe that one isn’t much of a stretch), tax reporting, *redacted because of attorney/client privilege*, bulk mail requirements, company initiatives and risks for 2011… And, I’m willing to bet your day involves just as many (if not more) far-flung areas.
And that is the oh-so-important fundamental about auditing that I forgot. One of the greatest joys of auditing is how wide a breadth of experience you get, and how quickly you get to move between those various experiences. When giving presentations on what internal auditing does, I invariably say that the only ones who understand the overall operations of the company are internal auditors and the CEO…and we’re not really sure about the CEO. This is not a comment about the CEO (honest, sir, it isn’t – really, it’s not – we’re behind you 1,000% Mr. Eagleton); rather, a comment on the business savvy and knowledge any good auditor must have.
That little reminder of why it is I’ve stayed with the profession for 27 years brought back the small joy that this job, when it is done right, should bring to anyone.
Dang it feels good to be an auditor.