Ben’s Blog!


The other side of the table – Waiting for Godot

Sometimes it feels like I am waiting for Godot when considering internal audit. For
the younger ones among you, “Waiting for Godot” is one of the best-known stage
plays of Samuel Beckett, written in 1949. It features two characters waiting for a
third one, who never shows up.

Godot, in my case, is you, the internal auditor. And you have failed to show up and
play a role where I expected you to. When risk management became popular, in the
late 1990’s, I was sure internal auditors would step up. But with the exception of a
paper by IIA UK discussing what the internal auditor should and could not do in risk
management, a paper which was eventually adopted by IIA Global, I did not see
much happening. The second line of defense started to develop the risk
management profile and quality auditors developed a risk management standard, a
cousin to the excellent Australian and New Zealand Standard 4360. I stopped
waiting … but good risk management is both critical to the quality of assurance
internal audit can and should give to audit committees and boards and it figures
explicitly in the definition of internal audit. This was an opportunity wasted.


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