This blog is written by Mr. Abdullah Saleem, Associate Audit & Assurance Services. Please read this blog and provide your valued comments.

Think Like an Auditor

Yet the professional literature, full of advice on how to conduct an audit, has little to say about how to maintain the proper mindset and make the right decisions. This article is an attempt to boil down auditing to its essence, as a way to help the new auditor understand how to deal with audit situations not through a series of rules, but by learning how to think like an auditor.

“Getting it” is important. Audits can be long, complex undertakings that require team members to make many day-to-day decisions that can have disastrous consequences if not made correctly. Just as important, how the auditor interacts with the auditee can promote respect, good relations and openness to change, or can create hostility, misunderstandings and resistance.

No matter how many levels of review an audit report goes through, a great deal of the audit shop’s credibility, productivity and effectiveness rests on the shoulders of the auditors in the field. Although on-the-job training is crucial, the development of auditors with the proper perspective and mindset is too important to be left entirely to the learn-by-doing approach.

Good Auditors Share a Common Perspective

Your role as an auditor is different in crucial ways from that of an accountant, a cop, a lawyer or an administrator. Maybe the occupation most analogous to the auditor is the judge, who must be impartial, devoted to finding the truth and unafraid to make tough calls about what they find. Even more, a good auditor has a clear and convincing basis for making and documenting each audit-related decision and action.

The mindset of a good auditor is a complex thing, borne partly of experience that has to be acquired the hard way. But you’ll be well on your way to excellence if you work to develop the following traits.

Be skeptical:

As the arms negotiators say, trust but verify. Skepticism does not mean that you assume everybody is lying, but rather that you understand the need for evidence. Also, it means you understand the comparative worth of different kinds of evidence. An original sis better evidence than a copy, eyewitness testimony is better than hearsay, and a signed, substantiated statement is better than an unsigned, unsupported one. A good auditor seeks to obtain the best-quality evidence available.

Be curious:

Auditors are snoops. They are paid to ferret out problems, and not all problems are readily apparent, nor are they readily volunteered by most auditees. An audit plan, no matter how well thought out, can’t anticipate all the potential problems the auditor may find in the field.

Abdullah Saleem