A friend of mine sent me a great quote yesterday. "It was really just a single note in a vast symphony of stupidity."
Oh, there are so many things that could be said about such a simple statement.
And I bet a number of past instances instantly flashed through your mind upon hearing this profound pronouncement.
But I want to put a different spin on it – a direction you may not have gone. How often does our audit work focus on the single note and ignore the vast symphony? How often do we restrict our scope so much that we provide effective opinions for a small piece of a disaster? How often do we pick up an inconsequential thing, make it the star finding of our audit report, and ignore that the entire process/department/company is about to go under.
How often do write up the Titanic for ineffective deck chair arranging.
The challenge is two-fold. First is to see the small picture and determine how it may be a piece of a bigger problem. Second is to start at the right level – to start by looking at the symphony rather than the single note.
Don't get so hung up on the small issue, the little details, the minor discrepancies that you lose sight of what is really important.