A good auditor and his many skills
Updated: Nov 18, 2018
What does it take to be a good auditor? What skills do you need?
We can build a checklist and look at it again and again to ensure that we have performed the correct procedure, or we can instead use our own audit skills and define, first of all, its purpose and make sure we are in the right way.
Auditing is a complex and serious process involving competencies and responsibilities.
How do you put pressure on an auditor?
- Political aspects: In an internal audit, management expectation is that the audit will solve problems, find solutions, however an auditor is not and can not fall into the temptation to be an auditor and consultant in the same case. In an external audit, it is quite usual to look at the auditor as a threat.
- Humans: In an internal audit the auditor is, usually , a co-worker. In an external audit, or when it is an external auditor, the auditor is seen as a threat, not only due to results of the audit but also by the access and knowledge it will have of the "soul of the business".
- Deadlines: Time is a rigid and inflexible variable. An audit has deadlines, it takes time to gather information and time to analyze it, time to clarify questions and time to evaluate, time to do all these activities sequentially but with repetitions (new information mid-cycle analysis or often causes the cycle to restart).
- Scope and Expectations: The temptation and willingness to "kill the messenger when the news do not please" is one of the difficulties presented to an auditor. In a certification audit, for example, whether it is preparation or final, the impact of a lead is transversal to several areas, affects notoriety, may prevent access to new business opportunities and always means corrective costs.
To avoid all this begins one should define the scope of the audit including detailing its boundaries and throughout the audit to be impartial, clear and objective.
The auditor needs to deal and communicate with many people and needs their collaboration to do a good job, which transports us to the need to be able to establish social relationships.
But back to checklists: will the auditor's only ability and competence be to check, verify, and perform a checklist to successfully complete your audit work?
Ethics: Unsurprisingly this will be one of the most fundamental characteristics of an auditor to be able to avoid the temptation to "let go," close your eyes ", ideas that sometimes are so ingrained in the culture that becomes more difficult to maintain this attitude.
It would be interesting to do the exercise here and see how many times we thought, or even risked, to ask the traffic police to forgive the mistake.
4 additional skills of an auditor.
Personal and relationship skills: These skills must be exceptional for it is necessary to deal with people. And people are not all the same but they have in common the fact that they don't feel comfortable when someone shows up to tell them something is wrong. In fact, people are afraid of auditors.
An auditor has the arduous task of overcoming all these obstacles, even because he is also a person, with all the characteristics mentioned above.
Decision-making: A difficult time, because you have accumulated immense information and will soon need to decide when you are ready to select and know that you have already collected all the information needed. This moment can be paralyzing.
Leadership: A good auditor should be able to be seen as a leader, in the sense of being able to collaborate and help the client. To convey the idea of "we", of partnership, where the goal of improvement is embraced by everyone, by the team.
Communication skills: In order to overcome the natural barriers related to the arrival of an Auditor to an organization, it is important that personal contact with clients, team, directors, employees, etc. is done "eye in the eye". It is important to create empathy with our interlocutors, which is why you should spend some time in this personal contact, that is, the use of sending emails can not be the preferred form of communication. It is necessary to appear, talk and ask questions.