IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors) Defines Internal Auditing

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#1
IIA Defines Internal Auditing

From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 08:48:18 -0600
Subject: INFO: Internal Auditing Standards /Arter

From: Dennis Arter

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) has revised their definition of internal auditing and is in the process of changing their standards for the practice of internal auditing. (Please note that the IIA is an international professional society and has been doing this stuff since way before we in the quality profession adopted the concept. Their definition may be somewhat different than your definition.)

We can gain much by following in the footsteps of others. The draft (exposure) standards on attributes and performance of an internal audit program are quite applicable to those of us implementing a quality or environmental or safety internal auditing program. If you wish to see the document, and even comment on their content, you can find them on the IIA web site www.theiia.org under "What's New" at the top of the page.

Dennis R. Arter
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
And the definition is:

"Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations.

It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes."

Bold emphasis mine. Now - what do they mean by consulting? Comments?

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 05 February 2000).]
 
#5
How do we determine if an internal audit adds value? What measurement criteria would be used?

[This message has been edited by Sam (edited 10 February 2000).]
 
J

John C

#6
Marc,
I have a book here, 'Flawless Consulting' by Peter Block (published by University Associates Inc, San Diego. He defines a consultant as 'a person in a position to have some influence over an individual, a group or an organisation, but who has no direct power to make changes or implement programs. He goes on to say that a manager has direct control and that the moment you take direct control, you are acting as a manager. ie (as I take it); If you were to be asked by one of your clients to tell the people what to do, rather than advise, then according to Peter Block you would no longer be a consultant but a contracted manager.
He goes on to say that most people in staff roles are really consultants. They plan, recommend, assist or advise in such matters as Personnel, Financial analysis, Auditing, Systems analysis, (and another half dozen in the list.)
Maybe the IIA are coming from the same direction. There is a whole section on Internal Consulting.
rgds, John C
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
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#7
John: Haven't read the book but the concept as you present it is valid. The problem is defining who is qualified to be a consultant. Often during internal audits the guy from purchasing is auditing the gal from receiving. The question becomes is the guy from purchasing qualified to advise receiving.

One factor of consulting is that typically a company hires a consultant (internal or external) based upon some expertise in a specific field. You typically want someone with experience in a specific function / arena.

When a company hires an external consultant, I believe they typically do this believing that person or company has much more experience than they do internally (why hire an external consultant who knows less than anyone in your company?). You hire a plumer to fix your pluming - you do not hire one to learn how to plumb and then fix your sink. In fact, this is a big area of contention with consultants who profess experience yet have little or none. Without going into details, there was a somewhat recent post here which disturbed me - a consultant was asking about a subject that the person obviously, and even so stated, had no background in. Needed information in order to 'look good' at a meeting. Really made me wonder.

My position is that quite often (I would say typically) in internal auditing the auditor does not have the qualification(s) to be consulting in the arena being audited. This is not to say they are not qualified through training to perform an internal audit.

In fact, typically this is a source of hostility in companies - internal auditor from purchasing (or whatever) audits receiving (or whatever) and decides receiving's systems need improvement. Receiving gets mad because they do this every day and here comes this person from purchasing telling them how to do their job. Now receiving wants to audit purchasing as they know they can recommend a few things there. And the war is on. In my opinion the auditors, unless specifically qualified, should be restricted to verifying that folks are following their documentation.

Unfortunately, I believe the move is to evolve (increase the 'importance' of) internal audits. Are internal audits important? Yes, I believe they are very important. Should auditors be involved in 'consulting'? Only as a source of information for input to management unless the auditor is specifically qualified in the arena the auditor is auditing which is not typically the case.

Do you want an HR employee telling maintenance how to improve their systems? Do you want a fork truck driver 'consulting' in your calibration laboratory? If so why? Based upon what qualification(s)? If not, why not?
 
I

isorin

#8
Originally posted by Marc Smith:

Do you want an HR employee telling maintenance how to improve their systems? Do you want a fork truck driver 'consulting' in your calibration laboratory? If so why? Based upon what qualification(s)? If not, why not?
An HR employee is auditing the sytem not the job done. Of course they can suggest improvements.
And please do not think that I'm flaming but even if I am a quality ***. manager I think that you are a litlle bit elitist.

I am working in litlle cie (100 employees) and if I don't use staff and floor employees for internal auditing i'll die in a week or two (burn-out).
:D
Only my 2cents.
 
A

AJPaton

#9
I've done some mentoring/training of new co-workers, and have found that some of the best suggestions come from those who don't know what you're doing. The Internal Audits are supposed to make you question your system, and I don't see why you should oppose a little assistance in the matter.
The problem is what Marc touched on above. Don't take it personally, and don't let conflicts develop. If there was no better way to do your job you'd be trapped in a dead end job. There's always room for improvement, and even your HR guy could provide good input.

AJP
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#10
Much of this is philosophical as much as realistic. You're in a small company so some people wear many hats. None the less, if you hire a person to clean the factory floor, you might want to think twice about having that person suggest 'improvements' to the design engineering folks. They may really believe that person is not qualified to make suggestions about their systems.

"...HR employee is auditing the sytem not the job done..." So - they only audit the system and not what people are doing? Please explain. I maintain internal audits are about verifying people are following the systems (procedures) applicable to their job. When you say one is not auditing "...the job done..." are you saying that in the sense of the 'quality' of how the job was done? If so, well - that's open for discussion.

"...Of course they can suggest improvements...." No problem. Let me know when you go into the hospital for surgery. I'll offer your doctor some 'suggestions for improvements' on operating procedures (systems) s/he uses on you. OK with you?

These things are done and I admit sometimes a suggestion is appropriate. However, I have seen this go to extremes where an auditor is making suggestions about a system that they have no qualifications in. The auditor calls them suggestions and the auditee calls them opinions. And the fight is on!

They can audit the systems (Are you doing what you say you are doing? Show me.) but are they qualified to comment on the system design (suggestions)?

OK - let's take an example of an engineer auditing HR. Typically an engineer has some background with HR folks. How? They may provide HR with requirements for a hire. What I am getting at here is the engineer probably has interfaced with HR from time to time which gives them an understanding of some aspects of some of HR's systems. If I was in HR, however, I might not agree with an engineer who wanted to tell me how to improve how I select suppliers. On the other hand the engineer may have some 'experience' having had to spec equipment from multiple suppliers.

A college degree can sometimes help one understand another's systems. My degree is in biology, however I had some qualifications in metology upon graduation by virtue of all the measurement and test equipment I used during chemistry class and many other classes. I may not be a metrologist, and I wouldn't want to tell a metrologist how to run his/her business, but I sure would feel qualified to audit a lab and I may also have some valid suggestions for improvement.

All this said, if your system works for you that's fine. I will never (um, well, maybe not NEVER, but you know what I mean) tell someone their system is garbage when it works for them. That does not mean it will work for every company. You obviously have not experienced Internal Auditor Hell! Be happy!!! ;) You don't want to go there, I promise you. 'Observations' (now most often called Opportunities for Improvement) can lead to real problems. No - they don't always as your case evidences. Again I say, be happy for you are blessed! I'm pretty radical about this because I've seen Internal Auditor Hell.

I've seen many systems like yours where no problems come up. I do not hesitate to say that the majority of internal audit systems do run smoothly as yours does. But when they go bad, they seriously affect a whole company negatively. I preach methodologies I believe reduce or eliminate problems.

"...And please do not think that I'm flaming....". Well, I may be a "...litlle bit elitist..." (or a lot elitist) but your position is welcome and not taken as a 'flame'. I would rather someone speak out (and most do here - that's why I keep the forums up) than to just go away. I learn from alturnate views - we all do. Heck, Alan and I have a standing arguement - on everything. He says something and I tell him he's wrong. I say something - he tells me I'm wrong.

Welcome to the club! Register and stop by daily for 'all the action'! Always open and ready to exchange ideas! We're all personalities here! (Just ask barb...)
 
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