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Struggling with keeping part-time internal auditors in our program

K

Karen-Dawn

#1
Hi All,

We are struggling with keeping part-time internal auditors in our program due to their existing work loads. I do not want to hire a full time audior because I believe the many different eyes and experiences are best. Management has requested a list of pros and cons for using multiple part time auditors versus a single full time auditor. Is anyone willing to share their experiences, good and bad, related to using full time dedicated staff, including managers versus floor personnel and/or having a single, regular auditor.

Thanks Muchly

Karen
 
A

AllanJ

#2
Karen-Dawn said:
Hi All,

I believe the many different eyes and experiences are best.
That says it all provided they are all properly trained which the remainder of your posts suggests your management is not. If they were and if they had been receiving a value-added service they probably would not be asking the question of you. And the way you phrased your post indicates to me you should be able to compile your own comparison table.
 
K

Karen-Dawn

#3
Actually management is trained and are my biggest supporter. They have been receiving excellent value and also do not want to lose that. We have never mandated internal auditors, our program has been met through various volunteer in addition to your regular duties participants. However, we are going through a real growth/change right now and are not getting the volunteers needed because everyone's tasks are growing/changing. We are struggling with do we mandate and who if we do or do we hire? Hence the request for the pros and cons related to each.

Karen
 

WALLACE

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Hi Karen,
It really depends upon your type of business and the established business system you may have in place.
I agree with you when you say, you believe that "many different eyes and experiences are best". :agree1:
The pros and cons for using multiple part time auditors versus a single full time auditor? Well, the pros and cons aren't generic in my opinion yet there are some obvious pros to having multiple auditors, the main pros being independence and objectivity. The cons of having a full time internal auditor are the obvious lack of independence and objectivity, but I'm stating the obvious.
The other option would be to out source your auditing needs to a consultant or independent assessor.
Wallace
 
#5
Karen-Dawn said:
I do not want to hire a full time audior because I believe the many different eyes and experiences are best.
I couldn't agree more. I suggest a look in this old thread (Feel free to add to it btw):WHERE do you find your internal auditors? This one could be interesting too: HOW do you find your internal auditors?

If I got things entirely my way, (Yeah, right :rolleyes: ) I would have at least one auditor from each department. They tend to spread the gospel all the time, not just while auditing.

/Claes
 
A

AllanJ

#6
WALLACE said:
Hi Karen,
The cons of having a full time internal auditor are the obvious lack of independence and objectivity, but I'm stating the obvious.

Wallace
Sorry Wallace, I do not think that is obvious. Would you care to explain why a full time internal auditor would "lack independence and objectivity" over the various internal departments, processes and systems et al? Is that the case in your own employer's company?
 
D

David Hartman

#7
Karen-Dawn said:
I do not want to hire a full time audior because I believe the many different eyes and experiences are best.
After spending 15 years of my career as a full-time internal auditor, I would have to disagree. I know that during my first few years of auditing I had such a limited experience base that most of my "findings" were low-hanging-fruit. It took several years for me to begin understanding the system-level view of our processes, which lead to my being able to identify the forest -Vs- seeing the trees (e.g. I know longer wrote-up out-dated procedures, but began to address a failed system that was allowing for out-dated procedures).

It was only after developing years of familiarity with the company's systems and processes that I was truly able to provide enlightened observations and improvement recommendations -Vs- "You're not adhering to your stated procedures" criticisms.

WALLACE said:
The cons of having a full time internal auditor are the obvious lack of independence and objectivity, but I'm stating the obvious
Without taking offense to your comment (as I know it was made from an honorable individual that is only voicing their perspective) I must state that I spent those 15 years as an internal auditor with more objectivity and independence than many of the paid third-party assessors that toured through our company.

In-fact our internal audit organization (consisting of 4 full-time auditors) struggled for years after gaining ISO certification, with management not wanting to listen to our "findings" since the "professional" assessors did not find these as issues worthy of documentation.


If you want to benefit from an internal audit program develop some full-time auditors, provide them with training (not just in auditing, but include quality program development and improvement), divide up your company/processes among them, let them perform their audits in those areas for a few years, then rotate them for that "fresh set of eyes" viewpoint.
:2cents:
 
Q

qualeety

#8
A very simple solutiion....HIRE OUTSIDE AUDITORS on a contract.....of course, you will know the pros and cons but it is an expense to hire a contractor and you do not carry extra body in your payroll...who knows, he might bring more value than internal auditors....and if you don't like results, you can stop without any consequences (other than $$$)
 
Q

qualitygoddess - 2010

#9
I have tried this both ways at one company, and found the part-time auditors who were part of the company's staff worked better in that company. I keep repeating 'in that company' because I think this differentiation is important. What you are doing today with the part-time auditors may not work as well as an outside, independent person you hire. OR, you may just need to ask top management to support the hiring of a 'helper' or two for your current internal auditors, so these folks can continue to do the important internal auditor work!

I like the idea of a contract for this person. Then your company shows a commitment, but does not have the same financial implications as you would if you went out and hired this person, and then later eliminated the position if it didn't work out.

I bet if you post on the Cove, you'll get hits for people willing to take on that contract!

--Jodi
 
A

AllanJ

#10
qualitygoddess said:
I like the idea of a contract for this person. Then your company shows a commitment, but does not have the same financial implications as you would if you went out and hired this person, and then later eliminated the position if it didn't work out.

I bet if you post on the Cove, you'll get hits for people willing to take on that contract!

--Jodi
There are some considerable merits in hiring an outside auditor on occasions provided, of course, one hires the right level of experience and expertise consistent with the audit objectives set by top management. It also, of course, depends on the overall strategic direction in which that top management wishes to take the company.

If, though, one merely seeks a "compliance auditor" type, I am somewhat skeptical of the value and would suggest the company sticks to using its own internal people, whatever status of full or part time management decides. That, of course, depends on the size of the firm/ site in question.

It is only when management truly wants the benefit of new views and ideas and especially the performance of a value assessment that a well-experienced outsider should be hired. And, in making that last remark, I do mean a genuine value assessment and not the nonsense currently being served up to unsuspecting organizations under the guise of value assessments but which are only the same old wine in new bottles. Caveat emptor.

To return to the original question, though, one can only advise based on the size of the company. A large company or site (say > 200) might justify the retention of a full time auditor. Smaller companies cannot. And the large company could also supplement that auditor with a number of specialists in an auditor pool. As many Covers will be aware, I wrote that, in my experience, the optimum size of the pool is around 8% of payroll, drawn company wide and company high. (See "Management Audits" 3rd edition ISBN 0951173901, page 13.)

For small companies, there are considerable merits in their hiring a contract person to perform their regular systems and compliance audits: even in engaging such a person to act as the Q Manager.

But, the more eyes and experience that can be brought to bear - the better. Those eyes must maintain currency in knowledge to work to best effect: continuous professional development is essential. Otherwise they do tend to become stale. If they are stale, hiring in a contract person to lead an audit or two can sometimes revitalize them because of the new/ different approach that attends that hiring and the outside knowledge that (hopefully) comes as well.

In developing a set of pros and cons, the overriding judgment must be based principally on these following matters: the knowledge and experience that each of the options considered would bring to bear; the strategic goals of top management; the nature of the market place in which the organization operates. For the savvy firm, budget is of little matter for, as someone once wisely remarked, "if you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance".

Finally, qualitygoddess is quite correct, if you post an advert on the Cove for an outside auditor you will "get hits", indeed, you may well be inundated with offers. There will be wheat and chaff in the overall response. And, as was recently posted in another thread look for experience; experience; experience.
 
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