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Volume 1, Issue 1

April 18, 2006

Page 16

Our bake-off takes place during the lunch hour the week after Thanksgiving and kicks off the holiday season. We decorate the room, making it a truly a festive occasion. Departments compete with each other for plaques that designate "Best Cooks" and "Best Presentation." The "Best Presentation" award has become par- ticularly competitive, with people dressing up in a Boston College Eagle mascot costume, a giant chicken outfit, and -- I think one of the funniest things the internal auditors did -- as characters from the movie, "The Full Monty." This was major risk taking, as Boston College is a Jesuit University, The bake-off has been writ- ten up in the University newspaper, which portrayed the internal audit department in a very positive way.

We also prepare a cookbook that we sell to University personnel that includes pictures taken at the bake-off. Proceeds from the cookbook are donated to Children's Hospital. Now you are probably saying, "this would never work in my company. Well, I previously sponsored a bake-off at Nixdorf Computer Corp., where it was also well-received.

Participating in company-sponsored sporting programs is also a good way to interact with employees in a positive setting. At Boston College, the internal auditors use the athletic facilities during lunch hours. A group of about 25 to 30 auditors and non-auditors play basketball three times a week. Participating in these games has helped establish very positive work relationships. It's very hard to be adversarial with someone who was your teammate -- even if he or she is auditing your department.

SPREAD THE WORD

Internal auditors should be proud of the contributions they make to the internal controls of an organization. Unfortunately, they rarely receive the recognition they deserve, because their accomplishments often are overshadowed by the bad news they must impart. Therefore, it is important for internal auditors to educate their clients on the value of internal auditing and build relationships that can withstand a negative audit. Us- ing humor is a great way to begin that process.

Internal auditing doesn't have to be doom and gloom. Auditors need to let the world in on this well-kept se- cret and, at the same time, improve their image and enhance communication with their clients.

RELATED ARTICLE: Make Them Laugh

When making presentations to people who have preconceived notions about the profession, internal auditors can create a positive tone by showing the following slide before they begin.

Dear Abby:

I am getting married in the near future. However, some of my relatives have questionable backgrounds, and I am not sure whether I should tell my fiance about them. My cousin was arrested for shoplifting. My brother is a bank robber. My father is an embezzler. My niece was arrested for assault and battery. My nephew was indicted for insider trading violations, and my second cousin is an internal auditor.

My question, Abby, is whether I should tell my finance that my second cousin is an internal auditor. It's reassuring to the auditor to hear laughter from the audience as they sit down and read it.

WILLIAM E. CHADWICK, CPA, CFE, is director of internal audit at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

To comment on this article, e-mail the author at wchadwick@theiia.org. COPYRIGHT 2002 Institute of Internal Auditors, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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