Rock Vs. Rock Star
Thomas Luccock, CIA, CPA
Director of Internal Audit
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Mich.
The concept of an internal auditor being a “rock star” is intriguing, particularly in adding an element of excitement to the profession. But, there is a certain edginess to a rock star, with nostalgia for Woodstock, Liverpool, and the Grammys … do I need to say more?
“Rock,” on the other hand, conveys the message of solid, dependable, ethical, consistent to a fault. It seems to me the profession can be exciting without being flamboyant, surefooted without being careless, stable without insensitivity. Internal audit should be looked on as the gold standard for ethical behavior, prudence, and objectivity.
This level of trust is built through years of discussions with management, well-founded findings, and responsible reporting. You can partner with management without compromising your objectivity, but it does not come overnight. As opposed to a rock star who may rise to preeminence in a flash but may not have staying power, a rock is something that is there for the ages … “Rock of Ages, Cleft to Thine.”
Internal audit should strive to be the gold standard for an organization. We are a profession with standards. Our importance in evaluating internal controls and adding value should be recognized, not only in our reporting relationship but in the day-to-day stability we add to our organizations. Also, our broad-based knowledge from reviewing all aspects of an organization gives us a unique ability to know the inner workings of our organizations. Ergo, get out there, prove your worth as a competent adviser and friend to management, identifying areas of improvement. Be willing to work with management to resolve areas of concern and conflict without compromising a level of objectivity and integrity that can only come from a high level of ethics and good faith.
This should be our challenge for the next decade: Are we solid as a rock with staying power or rock stars who are dependent on the vagaries of the times?
Posted on Sep 20, 2011 by Tim
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