Back to the Future

21st October 2015.

The date of the publication of this post is also – as any Hollywood obsessed teenager of the 1980s should be easily able to tell you – Back to the Future day.

The day 30 years into the future that Marty McFly from the 1985 of the movie visits.

In honour of that significant day in the time space continuum we thought that we would go back in time to see what Internal Audit could have done differently and how that may have impacted on what we do today.

Firstly – I would have established the work that we do as a skilled profession in the same way that engineering, law or medicine is.  The common theme behind all those crafts its that there are (or should be) professional consequences for incompetency or deliberate misadventure.  What does Internal Audit have?  How do we discipline those that tarnish our name?  We are still not there are we!

Secondly – I would have gone with a different name. What is wrong with Internal Audit you ask?  Well nothing – but we have spent the last 60 years explaining to the ignorant and the freshly initiated that not all Audit is the same.  There IS a difference between Internal Audit and External Audit!

Thirdly – I would have got a much better publicist. It amazes me to this day that I can be at a profession organised event and we are debating how to improve our brand.  Step one of improving our brand would be to stop being the prime culprits in talking it down.  Step two is to remind ourselves of step one.

Fourth – I would set the Delorean to December 9, 1941 and input the coordinates for the Williams Club located at 24 East 39th Street in New York City (a place about 5 years ago that I visited and which – sadly – had no recollection of the importance in modern day internal audit) and shake the hand of all 24 members that conceived the Institute of Internal Auditors and thank them for the groundwork – flawed as it may occasionally be – that they laid.  The modern incarnation of internal audit without the Institute of Internal Auditors is, to this correspondent’s eyes at least, difficult to conceive.

Fifth – I would have said to those present that cold winter’s day to look outside of the United States.  Have we really progressed to the point where we can say that Internal Audit is a discipline practiced and understood in all corners of the globe?  I think we are getting there but we are not there yet.

Finally – I would have said to everyone to enjoy the ride.

Time travelling is only fun – or so I am told – if you appreciate not only what you could change but what it is that you wouldn’t change.

To the future – where we are going, we don’t need roads!

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