A cow in Willesden

Public psychotherapy for a veteran auditor

Staff Retention in audit departments

This week, I’ve been mostly engaged with thematic analysis and presenting the results in a digestible and accessible format. Or as I explain it to my daughter when she asks what I did at work today, drawing pictures.

Over my career I’ve surveyed (or got drunk with) many auditors from all around the world, and I present here my categorisation of this immense and illustrious sample, published for the first time, for the benefit of anyone interested in the careers of auditors.

The first graph shows the 3 major classifications of auditor. The remaining graphs demonstrate that not only do I not know how to make Excel show what I want to show in a single graph, but also that these 3 classes can be further broken down (unlike many of the survey participants).

8 responses to “Staff Retention in audit departments

  1. JRN February 11, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Interesting analysis. So where do you see yourself?

    Where’d you get the analytics? What about for the satisfaction of helping an audit client or business unit that’s really looking to improve…

    • A Cow in Willesden February 11, 2011 at 9:21 am

      Well thanks for the comments, mysterious stranger.
      I didn’t include myself in the sample, as that would have detracted from my otherwise scientifically sound sampling approach. If I had, I imagine I would have fitted into most of the categories, if not all. Now that would really skew the data.
      Where did I get the analytics? All my own work, my friend, up here in the noggin. Years of effort to collect that data, which I finally typed up into Excel on Monday, and a mere 4 days later I was able to work out the graphs (by which I mean ‘work out that I couldn’t do the graph the way I wanted, so I’d just have to do it in 4 half-what-I-wanted graphs instead’).
      I agree with your suggestion that the motive of helping clients should have been up there. It was certainly part of my question bank during my surveys, but remarkably none of the auditors I have discussed it with said that that was their defining type. One of the people planning a fraud said that he was torn between the two answers, but I think his plan to steal millions of dollars from the client somewhat undermined that claim, and in any case he agreed with my overall classification.

  2. ITauditSecurity May 28, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I won’t mention that the colors in the bar chart don’t make the first pie chart, but I will mention this was really funny, so you’re on track with your mission statement as this auditor was minorly amused.

    What was also amusing was the question above re: your source of data. Obviously, the gentle reader did not read your “about the author” topic. I loved your gentle answer also.

  3. A Cow in Willesden May 31, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    The colours were a real nightmare. In my head this was a simple ‘excel graph wizard’ exercise, but in reality I had to copy-paste the data several times to get even close to what I had in mind. the scales, colours, and labelling in Excel graphs was just not able to do what I wanted.

    Glad you enjoyed it, its actually been one of my most popular posts, so I’m planning the next blog to be along similar lines (i.e. graphical).

  4. Audit Monkey June 8, 2011 at 7:07 am

    This is a very amusing post. Unfortunately I can not appreciate it’s brilliance, as i) I am brain dead after day of ‘not auditing’ and doing marketing stuff ii) have had a couple pints of fake Australian lager to drown my sorrows that I will be auditing next week.

    • A Cow in Willesden June 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks for the appreciation. I was aiming for mildly amusing, so might have overshot there, but I can live with it.

      Congrats on the job, and commiserations on your unfortunate career choices to date which have led you to take another auditing position. If you ever feel like sampling some genuine pints of australian lager, funded through internal auditing, I know of some opportunities … the beer in Australia is pretty much the same as the brew you’re describing, but colder, and less of it (and of course much further away).

  5. Audit Monkey June 23, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Now, the question I would like ACIW to explore is this. Why are Risk Managers, Management Consultants and Projects Managers really Internal Auditors? Could you please explain, then I will provide my thoughts, which may not amount to much but hey ho.

    • A Cow in Willesden July 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      Please, call me Cow.
      My general theory is that auditing, like certain other jobs, is something that people fall into or wander into rather than aspire to. Justification is facile, but along the lines of : have you ever met a child who has an ambition to become an auditor? Likewise, how many times as a child did you weigh up the merits of being a fireman versus a job in insurance policy administration. Can you seriously imagine a child dreaming of a career devoted to maximising the efficiency of software asset management within a multinational conglomeration?
      The corrollary (sp?) is that of all the people in those fields, I have yet to hear of one who has a lasting ambition to work in that field on its merit, rather than as a passing-through point in a different career ambition or as a stick-it-out-until-I-find-something-else option.
      So anyway, if you accept that premise, my grouping of other roles or careers was a selection of the jobs that float around when I discuss careers with other auditors, and i have chosen to represent that they are in fact the true destination whereas the audit title is merely a stop-gap. And the self-deception is a bit true for everyone in a job that they don’t see as the end-point of their career.
      Interested to hear your thoughts ….

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