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Dealing with Difficult Auditees

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Presentation on theme: "Dealing with Difficult Auditees"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dealing with Difficult Auditees
Qualifier – This does not mean that every audit will have difficult auditees!!! Difficult auditees just make audits more challenging.

2 Audience Poll Has anyone ever dealt with a difficult auditee?
Who is the most difficult auditee? Board Members? Chancellors? Presidents? Vice Presidents? Directors? Faculty? What about long term staff? Former auditors? Healthcare institutions…What about doctors or other medical personnel?

3 Some potential characteristics of difficult auditees
Argumentative Delay providing documents Non responsive ( , voic ) Providing incorrect documentation or information Make themselves unavailable for meetings This audit is outside of the scope of your authority Recommendations are outside of the scope of this audit Auditee attempts to distract the auditor from focusing on a specific area of the audit You are looking to get me fired Audits create extra workload

4 Some potential characteristics of difficult auditees
The timing of the audit is at the “worst time ever” Auditee answers a question with a question. Or provides very short answers like Yes or No. Auditee attempts to overload you with information and documentation. Personality clash (just don’t like auditors) Power clash (Administrators that believe they are “above it all”) Hard feelings and resentment due to prior audits and prior audit recommendations. Intimidation Withhold information/documentation Yelling at you

5 Quotes "Hopefully the audit goes well b/c I can't afford to lose my job" "Okay, who's job are you going to eliminate" "Is there a way to delay the audit until after I receive my bonus?" “Why are you auditing us? We have never had any problems in the past”  “When will this be over, I really don’t have time for this”

6 Some Reasons for Difficult Auditees
Fear of change Fear of “getting caught” Fear of losing control Fear of “looking bad” to superiors Feel that the audit is a personal attack Have an attitude that Auditors love finding things. If they don’t find anything, they are not happy. (We’re not happy, until you’re not happy)

7 Some Reasons for Difficult Auditees
Audit is a waste of time and money. Auditor’s take up too much of management’s time during the audit. Background noise. The auditee has issues going on outside of the workplace. Allowing the auditee to continue the behavior by not addressing it.

8 Sometimes We Create the Monster
Setting unrealistic deadlines for audit documentation and audit responses. Asking for information more than once. Have a “know it all” auditude. Being the “hammer”. (i.e. Auditing by the pound) Making recommendations without getting all the facts and without obtaining management input. Allowing the auditee to continue the behavior by not addressing it.

9 What can we do? Clearly explain the audit process from point to point in the entrance meeting. Move the auditee to addressing the facts and focus on the processes that are broken. Maintain your composure. Don’t get defensive, argumentative, emotional. Listen more than you talk; they have the information you need. Listen, don’t react. Understand where the auditee is coming from before defending your own position. Always be respectful even if they are not. Communicate. Get issues into the open quickly. Avoid festering and escalation. If you ever feel in danger, end the meeting immediately.

10 What can we do? Interpersonal skills are paramount. Be positive
Be appreciative and respectful of the auditees time. Be prepared ask open questions. Where auditees give “yes/no” answers then frame your questions to start with: How do you ….. Tell me ….. What does this … Where can I find ….. Can you show me …

11 What can we do? Auditee says: Why did I get picked, why can’t you go audit someone else? Explain the purpose of audit is to make their operation better, not to put them in a negative spotlight. Could also discuss the risk assessment process and how areas are selected for audit. Auditee says: You can’t perform the audit, or you can’t see those documents, they are confidential” Auditor access should be defined in the audit charter, if you don’t have one or if its not in there, draft a charter with the scope of authority included and get it approved by your board. Auditee says: So what will you be looking at/for? Explain the overall audit objective that was included in the audit notification.

12 What can we do? Auditor/Auditee Relationships matter. They are built upon mutual respect, courtesy, patience, and flexibility. Face time. Don’t treat every audit as a “desk audit” Obtain feedback on every audit. Follow-up on negative feedback and address it promptly. Remember…You can’t please everybody!

13 Traits of successful auditors
1. ethical, i.e. fair, truthful, sincere, honest and discreet. 2. open-minded, i.e. willing to consider alternative ideas or points of view. 3. diplomatic, i.e. tactful in dealing with people. 4. versatile, i.e. adjusts readily to different situations. 5. tenacious, i.e. persistent, focused on achieving objectives. 6. decisive, i.e. reaches timely conclusions based on logical reasoning and analysis. 7. self-reliant, i.e. acts and functions independently while interacting effectively with others. 8. observant, i.e. actively aware of physical surroundings and activities. 9. perceptive, i.e. instinctively aware of and able to understand situations.

14 The 4 P’s of Dealing with a Difficult Auditee
Professionalism Patience Persistence Personalization

15 Bring on the Panelist!

16 Toni Stephens Toni Stephens, CPA, CIA, CRMA, is the UT Dallas Institutional Chief Audit Executive for UT System. She received her accounting degree from Texas A&M University. Toni has almost 30 years of both internal and external audit experience, including working for the Texas State Auditor’s Office.

17 Charlie Hrncir C.R. "Charlie" Hrncir has over thirty years of management and supervisory experience as an internal and external auditor of government institutions in Texas. Responsibilities include providing leadership in helping manage the internal audit department for The Texas A&M University System and managing audits with over 100 auditors in multiple locations across Texas while employed by the Texas State Auditor’s Office. Possess a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Texas A&M University. Charlie is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program. He has held leadership positions with the local chapters of CPAs in Austin, and Brazos County and chaired a conference committee for the Texas State Society of CPAs. He has also served on the Board of Governors for the Brazos Valley Chapter of the IIA and is a past president and member of the board of TACUA.

18 Russ Hoskins Russ Hoskens is the Director of the Internal Auditing Department at the University of Houston System. He has over 30 years of experience in internal auditing, including 22 years of experience in higher education. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Internal Auditor, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.  In addition, he received a MBA degree from Louisiana State University with a concentration in Internal Auditing in 1992 and is a Past-President of TACUA.

19 Steve McGee Steve holds a BBA in Accounting from Southwest Texas State University and he is a CPA, CIA, and CFE. He has been auditing for over 33 years, including 10 years in the healthcare industry and 23+ years in Texas state government. Steve’s state experience includes working at the Texas State Auditor’s Office, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Texas State University. Steve is and has been a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He has previously served on the TACUA board, holding each officer position and was the President of TACUA in 2000.

20 Panel Discussion!

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