Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Great Train Robbery

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
or LinkedIn here http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

What is the biggest con-trick of modern times?

I thought it was interesting to hear about that Hatton Garden Heist - more info here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-32439127 . Funny the different connotations that robbery & heist, as words seem to have. Whereas a robbery is obviously bad and the culprits should be caught and exposed to the full extent of the law, there is something romantic about a 'heist'.

From organisations I encounter, one of the most regular and effective con-trick I encounter is 'audit'. Please understand I am pro-financial control and actually a stickler when I encounter procedures not being followed. I am also keen to document procedures too, where they are absent. So I should be the auditors friend really.

I remember many years ago when I was in retail, at Littlewoods, I was often involved in payroll audit. The name of the auditor, was Gerry Myers. He was relentless, dare I say it an efficient auditor. He was 20 years older than me too, I would say.

Modern 'auditors' I often encounter, (now I won't name names obviously), much like policemen (and policewomen), seem to be getting younger. Sixth-form younger in some cases. They seem to ask the same questions every quarter too. Not surprising that they rarely unearth any significant answers.

Rather than understanding the systems they audit, they often ask for special reports to extract data from various places, in order to make their job easier. Now if you had something to hide, wouldn't that be just the report, to get it filtered out of, or buried in?  I would, although I have got to say I am always the model of honesty. Where reports can be requested like that, they inevitably cost money and may even incur some annual maintenance. In my world, auditors should be paying for that, as its for their convenience, not the organisations they audit.

I remember the role of auditors at Cosmopolitan, which received a clean bill of health, (causing sector instability, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24041434) . Auditors need to be experienced enough to find the problems, and provide possible solutions too.  Cutting costs and corners benefits no-one and educes, not adds value. Ensure your organisation is getting value for money from your audit reports. Organisations need insight, not basic box ticking, for good governance.

Related Post: Are you on top of your Repair KPIs?

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Black Uhuru - The Great Train RobberyBlack Uhuru - The Great Train Robbery.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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