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Top Ten 'Your Voices' Blogs of 2021

Blogs ​Robert Perez Dec 29, 2021

Readers of the "Your Voices" blogs on InternalAuditor.org were focused on career development and improving their mental approach to the profession.

With nearly 60,000 page views in the blog series' first 10 months, the Top 10 most-read blog posts were equally split between Building a Better Auditor and On the Frontlines.

The most-read blog, penned by ServiceNow internal audit leader Brian Foster, CIA, focused on the value of professional certifications and certificates. In Certificates and Certification — Two Keys to Career Advancement, Foster notes his first-hand observations of how certificates and certifications support personal and career development and influence how potential employees view the holder. "So, should you seek out certificates or certifications? The answer is yes. They both provide value to those who invest the time and energy to earn them, and to their employers."

In Why Stress Management Is Critical to Your Career, Jamie Burbidge suggests that effective stress management is a key component of forging a successful career. Burbidge, the founder of Bickham Montgomery in London, goes on to offer a series of tips for managing personal stress levels as well as those on a team.

In the third most-read blog post, Edgardo Alifano provides insights into how little input internal auditors have on management remediation plans. In The Most Important Thing Auditors Don't Do, Alifano, CAE for Darigold in Seattle, says that encouraging management to create acceptable action plans "provides a unique opportunity for auditors to exercise our role of business partners and trusted advisors more than ever."

Pumping up the volume on internal audit reports to get noticed is not unlike the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," according to Maja Milosavljovic, CIA, CRMA. In Why Sensationalism is Bad for Internal Auditing, the Vienna-based internal auditor laments that, "auditors may compete with each other to come up with better, more critical, and more sensational findings." When this happens, internal auditors could be sacrificing their objectivity, she notes.

Two blog posts about altering how internal auditors think ranked fifth and sixth on the Top 10 list.

Emilio Lui, CIA, urges readers to get into an objective frame of mind before taking on engagements. In Evolve Your Internal Audit Mindset, the senior internal auditor from Belize City, says internal auditors must get rid of the "policing" mentality or thinking they have a responsibility to "find something wrong." He says, "To all my internal audit colleagues, that is not your responsibility. We should aim to serve, to deliver value, and over deliver on our value proposition."

In Developing an Internal Auditor's Mindset, Mustafa Yusuf-Adebola, CIA, CPA, CFE, CGA, of Ontario, makes a case for specialized onboarding for new internal auditors. Looking for additional training openings for junior auditors provides audit leaders opportunities to mold them into effective team members.

Jeff Ridley, CIA, praises The IIA's focus on informing practitioners on where internal audit fits into the growing ESG risk area. However, in Internal Audit's Role in ESG, Ridley suggests that few practitioners "address the connectivity of national and global ESG issues in their risk-based internal auditing." The long-time internal auditor and visiting professor at Birmingham City University, University of Lincoln, and London South Bank University says evaluating the quality and improvement of every internal audit function must now include how internal auditors, management, and boards are walking the talk of ESG.

Blog posts that round out the Top 10 focused on finding ways to become more effective and efficient auditors. In Incorporating Data Analytics for Smarter Audits, Ryan Singer, CIA, says it is past time for internal audit to embrace data analytics. "Many internal auditors will agree that when it comes to data analytics in internal audit, we're much further along with talk than we are with action," he points out. The fix is to "tie data analytics into the internal audit group's overall strategy, which should ultimately feed into the larger strategy of the business," says Singer, a consulting senior manager at Crowe LLP in Columbus, Ohio.

Tim Berichon, CIA, QIAL, CPA, says a Six Sigma mindset can help internal auditors be more valuable. In The Six Sigma Mindset, Berichon, the IIA's director of global advocacy, says people trained in the management technique make some of the best auditors "because they want to know why and how we can do better." He adds, "Internal audit, by definition, is designed to add value and improve operations to help our organizations meet, if not exceed, objectives. Six Sigma strives to eliminate defects and waste by improving processes to help the organization meet, if not exceed, objectives."

Rounding out the Top10 is Expanding Your Internal Audit Role Through Active Listening. Alex Rusate, CIA, CRMA, CCSA, CPA, describes active listening as a paramount skill for internal auditors. The senior internal auditor at New York Independent System Operator in Rensselaer, New York, says internal auditors, "cannot audit what matters if they do not listen to understand what matters." He goes on to share six key characteristics of active listening offered by the Center for Creative Leadership.

​Robert Perez

Robert Perez is director, Content Development and Delivery, at The IIA.