Saturday, May 30, 2015

Will We Ever Stop Saying:" Where Were the Auditors”?

Is it fair that people say "Where Were the Auditors" every time a corporate scandal breaks?
Is it simply human nature and logical reaction to first blame the auditors (external & internal), even before the full facts are known?

                     I admit that this was my initial reaction when the recent FIFA news broke!

How do we change this blame game?

Is it a matter of managing stakeholders' expectations of auditors and building awareness of the limitation of audit? Or is it that auditors need to do more to ensure surprises do not happen? Or perhaps a combination of the above!

 Please share your thoughts!


Monday, May 25, 2015

What Have You Learned Today?

Internal Auditors are expected to provide advice on best practices, consulting services, and opinions on a wide range of issues. To be able to do so and achieve the status of a "Trusted Adviser", I believe they need to learn new things on daily basis! And "by new things", I am not only referring to necessary technical knowledge, but to any other useful piece of information. Such information may prove to be useful to them in providing their services and/or as a door opener in establishing relationships with their customers. Not to mention, improving their business acumen.

Don't confuse this with continuous professional education (CPE), these are two different things!

I have been literally doing just that (learning a new thing every day) for a long time. I would like to think this approach has helped shape who I am today. Needless to say, modern technology has made it much easier to achieve this goal compared to the past!

What Did I Learn Today?
It is very simple and basic: I have learned the difference between " what did you learn today" and "what have you learned today"! I was debating which sentence is more appropriate to use. I have learned that both sentences are grammatically correct. The former is past simple and the latter is present perfect. This is useful information for someone whose English is a second language like myself and for improving my vocabulary &  communication skills!

Why Learn New Things?
An article published on lists the following benefits :
  • Learning across a wide range of subjects gives us a range of perspectives to call on in our own narrow day-to-day areas of specialization.
  • Learning helps us more easily and readily adapt to new situations.
  • A broad knowledge of unfamiliar situations feeds innovation by inspiring us to think creatively and providing examples to follow.
  • Learning deepens our character and makes us more inspiring to those around us.
  • Learning makes us more confident.
  • Learning instills an understanding of the historical, social, and natural processes that impact and limit our lives.
I can't agree more.
Practical Approach to Everyday Learning!
  • First and foremost, you need to have the will and commitment to learn! Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way!
  • Chose the right information source. Social media does not necessarily provide correct and accurate information! 
  •  Pay attention! You will be surprised how much you can learn by paying attention to people and your surroundings.
  • Be curious. Albert Einstein once said, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious". 
  • Combine entertainment with learning! I often find myself googling a word, a term, or a piece of information I have heard while watching my favorite TV show or reading a fiction book!
  • Make reading part of your daily ritual. Joseph Addison said," Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body ".
  • If you are a disciplined person, set aside a specific time of the day for quick learning ( i.e. first thing in the morning, bedtime, during commute, or during breaks).
  • Don't be shy or embarrassed to learn from younger people. I still learn a lot from my children!
  • Make your smartphone work for you. Set up an alert for your topic of interest to keep you up-to-date.
Do You Have The Time?
Absolutely! There is no excuse for not learning a simple thing a day. It only takes a few minutes, this is equivalent to one social media status update!

So, What have you learned today?

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Fine Line Between Arrogance & Self Confidence!

A recent experience with a young Realtor, during the process of selling my house using a "for sale by owner system", has inspired me to re-examine the issue of arrogance, big ego, and self-confidence! I was contacted by the realtor's representative and was asked to give his firm a chance to present their  "sales pitch" in an effort to convince me to list my property with them instead of selling it by myself. What I took from his unsolicited visit was that " I should be humbled and honored because he showed up personally at my house since he does not chase customers (!!! ) and that his marketing technique is one of a kind "! I don't think he was pleased when I conveyed that "I have seen this movie before". Do I need to tell you that I will not be using his services any time soon!

While I strongly encourage young professionals to have self-confidence, I always warn them to be careful not to confuse it with arrogance. After all, there is a fine line between both of them!

Let's examine the definition of both terms :

Self Confidence: When you google "self-confidence" the first result that jumps at you is this definition:" a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment". A simple but yet a thorough definition.

Arrogance: Urban dictionary provides my favorite definition: "The assumption that one's self-worth is far superior to others. A false sense of pride. Foolishly believing that everyone is inferior to you, looks up to you, and should bow down to your graces"

I hope the above clearly shows the difference between self-confidence and arrogance.

A May 15,2011 article in the Washington Post mentions that arrogant people (the article is about job candidates) tend to, among other things, :
  • Have a tendency to speak using overbearing and harsh tones and intimidating body language.
  • Display limited active listening skills.
  • Answer questions almost too quickly, using “canned” or mechanical responses.

 Having said that, does arrogance lead to success?
Leisa A. Bailey, Ph.D.  said: "Arrogant people can and often do have successes but there are significant costs. Relationships are often shallow and superficial or strained. Additionally, professional successes can be fragile due to difficulties in accepting guidance and feedback and impaired abilities to accept and learn from mistakes."

My last message is: remember to check your ego at the door!



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Internal Auditors: What is your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

The importance of soft skills to a successful internal auditor is now an established fact. I  pay a particular attention to this part of requirements when I read job postings. Today, a job posting for a VP Global Audit position  on the IIA website's career section listed the following "other requirements" :

  • Passion and energy for inciting results through others
  • Managerial courage
  • Strong commitment to consumers, colleagues, and business partners
  • Goal-oriented and personally accountable
  • High level of integrity and EQ”
  • Practices open communication and collaboration
  • Influential in selling ideas and programs
  • Resourceful and self-directed
  • Open-minded and curious
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Proven leadership

  • While I see most of the above requirements in other job posts, I rarely come across Emotional Intelligence (EQ). So, what is EQ ?

    According to Wikipedia :

    "Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior."

    EQ is considered by some to be a characteristic of  a performing leader, while others have criticized it and look at it as a skill rather than a form of intelligence!

    How do you define EQ in internal audit? Is it simply being an "auditor with a heart" who considers other people's feelings and controls his/her own?

    Should EQ be part of the job requirements for Internal Auditors?

    How would having high EQ influence your independence & objectivity?

    Does it enhance your relationship building opportunities? 

    Do you know what is your EQ? If you are interested you can take a test here :

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    Celebrating The IA Awareness Month by Providing Free IA Services!

    Bibi Consulting  and its founder Wa'el Bibi have been strong advocates and promoters of internal audit for more than 15 years around the world.This month of May 2015 ,we have decided to celebrate the International Internal Audit Awareness month in a practical manner by providing free internal audit services to one organization to help start an IA activity under the following conditions:
    The Organization:
    • must be located in the Ottawa ,Ontario area in Canada,
    • It does not have any existing current internal audit activity,
    • It should have a strong desire and commitment to establish an internal audit activity and make it relevant,
    • The free service is for a period of three months and will concentrate on starting the process of establishing an IA activity including drafting of an internal audit charter, drafting of an IA manual ,helping in recruiting internal auditors and establishing professional relationships with the rest of the organization.
    • The service will be provided in English only .Translation to French,if needed, is the responsibility of the organization
    The service is totally free with no obligation or strings attached !Interested organizations are encouraged to contact us via email for details.
    The selection of the wining organization will be made by the end of May 2015 and will be solely at the discretion of Bibi Consulting ,

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