Apr 08, 2010 News
Local state auditors are being urged to be more aggressive in their work and “if you smell a rat, follow your instincts to the very source…”
The call was sent out to several staffers of the Auditor’s General’s Office yesterday during a workshop with Canada-based renowned accountant, Lal Balkaran.
Shortly after the half-day workshop on Risk-based Auditing, Balkaran also donated several audit related books covering topics such as Purchasing and Contracts, Fraud Detection and Prevention Techniques, and Assessment Risks.
Calling on his 25 years of experience, the Senior Manager of Ernst and Young’s Advisory Practice, urged the staffers to strive to educate themselves on global issues and to find time to also pursue their own interests.
Not only must auditors develop their ability to build confidence within any organisation, they must be able to interact with board members and senior management right down to the janitors.
“It would be surprising how such interaction can reveal some startling information than can lead to potential areas of fraud in an organization and aid the audit report.”
However, auditors must also cultivate critical values including honesty, ethical conduct, moral values and spiritual growth.
“Too often, we divorce our work life from our ‘real life’, from our innermost beliefs and convictions. But work can be as much a part of our life and as much a vehicle for spiritual growth and personal understanding…”
With regards to unearthing frauds, Balkaran called on the auditors not to buckle, but rather to persevere.
He made reference to a chief audit executive at WorldCom who noted something irregular when she was tipped off. Her Chief Financial Officer, who was later embroiled in the ensuing scandal, had attempted to place hurdles in her investigations but this failed.
The accountant also stressed that auditors should leave their mark in any positive way to organizations and should use the opportunities to “work at it with a passion for excellence.”
“If you put honest and sincere feelings and a firm commitment into what you are doing, you are bound to succeed in the profession.”
There should also be some level of “street smarts”. “For example, reviewing an invoice should prompt an auditor to ask some simple questions: How authentic is the amount? Is it supported by an approve purchase order? Does the vendor exist at all? Is the vendor an employee of the organization under audit?”
Balkaran is a published author of many auditing books and has been a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) for the past 21 years. He is also past president and current Board Member of the IIA-Toronto.
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