What do the members of the Audit committee want to hear from the Chief Audit Executive?
They sit together around the same boardroom table, but the profiles, attitudes, and motivations of the two parties are not the same.
These are the subjects we discussed on Monday, October 4, 2021 during a webinar with a dozen Chief Audit Executives from the Institute of Internal Auditors (Greece).
We started by looking at the mindset of the director. What is on his/her mind?
- I am not an operational manager but an independent director. I am not familiar with the organization and its business processes. I get easy lost in your presentation, creating discomfort. Please provide me with information that is put in its context.
- I listen to you approximately four times a year. I have difficulties connecting your presentation of today with your presentations of previous quarters. What have you done with the issues reported last quarter? Are they cleared? I prefer when your approach is coherent from meeting to meeting.
- I need information that is clear and concise. I need to clearly understand the significance of each issue for deciding how to handle it: if it is a risk, management needs to mitigate it; if it is an error, it needs to be corrected; if it is a fraud, it needs to be investigated.
- I am sensitive about my criminal and civil responsibilities. As soon as I am informed of something, I need to do something about it. I like it when you present a problem and then its solution. Do not tell me everything goes right; I would be surprised. Do not tell me everything goes wrong; I would be anxious. I need to be both alerted and reassured.
Understanding the concerns and mindset of the board member allows us to rethink the style and content of the auditors’ presentations. The outcome is a more effective dialogue.