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My Top Internal Audit Blog Posts of 2019: Self-awareness and a Little Humor

Blogs Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA Dec 09, 2019

​This year, I found that the value of internal auditor self-awareness and a little self-deprecating humor went a long way.

For the past three years, I have reviewed my most-popular blog posts to seek insight into what appeals most to my readers. In 2019, with more than 400,000 viewers in multiple languages, I found that the value of internal auditor self-awareness and a little self-deprecating humor went a long way.
In June, I resurrected four previously published posts that focused on internal auditors looking inward. I called it "Internal Auditor Self-awareness Month," following the well-established "International Internal Audit Awareness Month" each May. Three of the four blog posts for June made their way onto this year's list.

Another highly popular post was one that poked a little fun at the profession by using popular emojis to tell a little bit about the life of an internal auditor. As in previous years, the top headlines and my five recommended resolutions made the list, as well.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 blog posts for 2019:

Writing an Impactful Audit Report: 6 Tips for Being More Persuasive. If you ask internal auditors why they write reports, you may get a variety of answers. But the ultimate objective of internal audit reporting is not to describe what auditors found or to make recommendations for improvement. It is to persuade readers to take action. This previously published blog post continued to resonate with readers. It just missed last year's top 10 most-read posts.
10 Things Not to Say in an Internal Audit Report. This also was a previously published post, but included some new thoughts and was published under a new title,  "Why Tone Is so Important for Internal Auditors. "The post included a hyperlink to the previously published post, which led to more than 15,000 views. The new post added another 5,000 views on its own.

The popularity of this post shouldn't be surprising. Its message about tone is an important one for internal auditors. From the post:

You've heard: "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." Well, in internal auditing, I'd say it's a combination of both. What we say in our audit reports most certainly matters. The reports must be clear, concise, and accurate. But it's the way we communicate that will determine how our findings and recommendations are received. I call it "tone."

7 Deadly Internal Audit Sins. Everyone makes mistakes, but some should be avoided at all costs. This previously published post makes the case that even the most carefully planned internal audit career can come crashing down over a serious mistake. Get lazy, careless, or worse, fail to live up to the Core Principles for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing, and an internal auditor may never recover.

5 Ways Internal Audit Can Fail to Adequately Serve Its Organization. We need to be keenly aware of the consequences our decisions can have on our organizations. This blog post looked at five examples of how the wrong choices about what to audit — or not audit — can have profound consequences.

10 Emojis That Sum Up an Internal Auditor's Life. As noted earlier, this light-hearted look at the profession, with a little help from the ubiquitous Japanese characters, provided a break from the serious business of internal auditing. It also helped to break the stereotype of internal auditors as a dour or even — gasp! — a boring group.

The Fallacy of Follow-up Audits. Nowhere in the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing do the words "follow-up audit" appear. Instead, the emphasis is on a "follow-up process." This blog post examined the value of formal follow-up audits in terms of best use of resources.

The 5 Cs That Should Be Keeping Boards (and Auditors) Awake at Night. This blog post looked at the five Cs that are top of mind for practitioners and stakeholders alike: culture, change velocity, crisis management, cybersecurity, and compliance.

Internal Auditors: What Is It You Do? This new post definitely struck a chord with readers, who quickly found the value in a series of short descriptions about what auditors do. Too often, practitioners are stumped when asked, "What is it you do?" I offered seven responses, including, "I serve my organization to protect and enhance its value," and "I model integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and competency every day."

8 Headlines That Defined 2018 for Internal Audit. This annual look back at the year was technically posted on the last day of 2018, but the lion's share of its nearly 7,500 views came in the New Year.

5 Internal Auditor Resolutions for 2019. Now in its 10th year, the annual list of internal auditor resolutions remained as popular as ever. It is good to start the year with a fresh list of key issues facing the profession, which can also serve as a benchmark throughout the year.

I would be remiss in not thanking my loyal readers for making Chambers on the Profession a continuing success.

Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA

Former president and CEO of The IIA, the global professional association and standard-setting body for internal auditors.