The World’s Best Auditor

Truth be known we have absolutely no idea who the world’s best auditor is (and yep sorry for the click bait that got you to read the story).

Our missive today is about why it is that we don’t know who the world’s best auditor is and what we could do about it.

And so today we are introducing – well that sounds like it is more developed than it actually is – the McLeod Governance Auditor Rating System (referred to by those in the know as “MGARS”) to once and for all determine who is the best.

We were listening recently a most fascinating podcast on rankings and their ubiquity.

We went looking and lost count after about 200 of the different types of rankings that we use in every day life.

Now before you pick up the phone and tell us that they are all objective rankings and that is the reason why there has never been a precursor to MGARS well … no … some of them are very subjective in their nature and are seeking to measure quality, not quantity, size or other such easily definable measure.

So MGARS needs to be a measurement of quality that we all agree on that most likely reflects competency, integrity, respect and independence.

Getting a bit harder now isn’t it … well … who would be the deciders of MGARS?

Can we decide it for ourselves?

Should the Institute of Internal Auditors in Lake Mary, Florida be the adjudicator? Let’s be honest  – we have had much worse ideas (note to IIA: we will sell you the rights to MGARS for a sum that will mean we will never have to work again; otherwise not interested!).

Once IIA have bought the rights to MGARS then they would set up a bureaucracy that would seek suitably qualified applications; measure those humbly bragging auditors who self nominated against the MGARS never to be changed criteria and then tell the world that … drum roll please … such and such are the best.

But this sounds a bit self promoting so it can’t be ourselves that put our hands up to say how good we are – it needs to be our stakeholders.

So the nominations would then need to come from, say, the CEO, the CFO, the COO or the Audit Committee Chair.

But … gee MGARS is proving harder than we thought to develop … would the desire of the Auditor to be provided a nomination from one of their stakeholders impact their independence.

Right up until that nuisance thing called the Global Financial Crisis, rating agencies seemed to have not concerned that their sister organisations were receiving untold wealth from advising (or not) at the same time they were giving out AAAA+++s.

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I guess what we are saying is that at the moment we have all thrown our hands up and said this is too hard and not appropriate for our profession.

We disagree.

When you dig deeper as to why it can’t work all one gets is that time honoured childhood response that every teacher around the globe has said for an eternity is not the basis for a good argument:

Because.

So whether it is MGARS or something else not bearing our name (we will live with the disappointment) our challenge to ourselves and others is to start looking at audit quality in another way.

If you can rank a restaurant as being the world’s best – surely measuring a restaurant’s quality is the very definition of subjective taste – then why not auditing?

 

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