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Building a Better Auditor: Sound Judgment and Due Care

Blogs Ahmed Gharib, CIA Nov 23, 2021

​A seasoned auditor takes on a new opportunity in the world of audit.

​​Can I do it? Will I be successful? These are questions every auditor asks at one point or another in his or her career.

​Being a governance professional for 17 years in four different organizations was a very enriching experience; however, my work was limited to technology companies and their related operations and finance. I felt trapped and like I had nothing more to give. Although I coached and provided consultation, I felt I had reached the most feared and notorious "status quo" stage in my career.

Then, in 2020, I received an invitation to interview with a real estate company. I was amazed and scared at the same time. I asked myself if I could leave the technology shell I was in and start a new journey in real estate.

It was a very difficult decision. My chief audit executive encouraged me to take the opportunity, and it turned out to be the "kiss of life" to my career — a whole new world to explore. In my first year, I audited four different construction projects and five subsidiary companies and had many consultation engagements.

A real estate audit is different from a normal audit engagement in that you may be asked to perform a full-scope audit, which includes financial, strategic, health and safety, etc. The common practice in real estate in Egypt is to establish an independent financial entity for each project, which creates the need to examine individually the financial position of each company, thus the need to create a full-scale audit program.

Needless to say, such a full-scale program takes longer than other audit engagements. The length of the engagement is also a pressure factor. As you invest time and effort in executing the engagement, it is some time before you receive feedback from management or the CAE's appraisal of the audit report.

What I needed in this case, I already had, but I needed to discover it for myself: I simply needed to believe in myself and my competency to conduct engagements. As long as I practiced sound judgment and due professional care during all phases of the engagement, as outlined in the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing, I could succeed.

One year later, I can say with confidence that I have met both my own and my superiors' expectations. I've concluded that the main factor in my success is that I believed in myself and my ability to embark on a new challenge in the audit world.

Ahmed Gharib, CIA

Ahmed Gharib is group internal audit senior manager at Porto Group in Cairo.