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The Decision Factor offers insightful comments and observations on analytics—from views on new technology approaches and market dynamics to the latest industry trends driving demand for faster, smarter information analysis. This blog contains personal views, thoughts, and opinions from SAP employees, mentors, and friends working in the area of analytics. It’s not endorsed by SAP nor does it constitute an official communication of SAP.

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Is Your Internal Auditor a Back Seat Driver or a Coach for Excellence?

Is your internal auditor a back seat driver or a coach for excellence?Each of us, in our personal lives, has suffered with people who don’t have anything good to say. All they do is carp and point out all your mistakes, even when they are not mistakes.

The back seat driver is the epitome of this annoying individual. He doesn’t participate in helping you get to your destination, but just annoys with complaints and pointing out when you missed your street.

The mother-in-law is another caricature of an individual that has nothing but negative to say. I like the joke: what is behind every successful person? An astonished mother-in-law.

These people seem to find joy in your distress.

So what do we do with them? We tune them out. We try not to pay attention. We do not permit them to influence our actions and lives.

But how many internal auditors fit this profile? How many just drone on about failures of controls and how we have taken risks we should not (not including allowing them in the back of the car)?

Years ago, I talked to a business executive who was so fed up with the internal auditors at his location that he moved them out of their onside office to a location a few miles away.

Let’s contrast that with the person that I hope everyone has in their life: a coach for excellence, a mentor on life’s journey that is not hesitant to tell you the truth about where you are and the mistakes you are about to make, but does so with the clear intent to help you succeed. Criticisms are constructive and designed to help not hinder.

This is the person you welcome, not to the back seat of your life, but right next to you in front. Your mentor and life coach gives you a better chance for success, to be a better person, to win in the game of life.

How many internal auditors are life coaches for excellence? How many recognize that the only way they succeed is through the success of their organization?

Success is not measured in the number of findings, but in the lack of findings as controls are improved.

What type of internal auditor does your organization have?

Don’t tell me that in order to be independent and objective the auditor cannot align with the success of the organization. I will kick those auditors to the curb.