As audits become automated—and inundated by new regulations—internal auditors work at a congested intersection of tools and content. At such a juncture, teamwork and oral communication take on new importance. Cutting-edge techno-tools often yield unanticipated results, and the consequent learning curves can be shortened through effective conversation. The clarification of new standards, as discussed in Chapter 2, is also accelerated by healthy discussion.
When people are just starting to use new, unfamiliar methodologies to accomplish old, familiar tasks, workplace conversations can actually add value rather than waste time. When the first desktop computers arrived at KPMG, for instance, everybody gathered in the partner offices that had one and taught each other how to get the most out of the new equipment—and that was after the formal training sessions. In the post-SOX era, collaborative discussions about how the new controls software functions in real time or where repetitive testing might be eliminated will also add value to the enterprise.
This chapter outlines several techniques to make optimum use of all the chitchat—from water cooler conversations to cell phone conferences to impromptu meetings in hallways or aboard transoceanic flights. Tips on how to ask the right questions and say the right things during walkthroughs are also included, and e-mail etiquette is covered too.