Blog: Why Tone Is So Important for Internal Auditors
In his blog, IIA President and CEO Richard Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA, shares his personal reflections and insights on the internal audit profession. Here’s an excerpt from his latest post:
You’ve heard: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Well, in internal auditing, I’d say it’s a combination of both. What we say in our audit reports most certainly matters. The reports must be clear, concise, and accurate. But it’s the way we communicate that will determine how our findings and recommendations are received. I call it “tone.”
Have you ever sent an email that others misread as harsh or curt? Early in my internal audit career, I actually had someone tell me, after reading a draft of an audit report that I had written, “I agree with the recommendations, but I disagree with all of the findings.” In other words, he agreed that there were issues that needed to be addressed, and he was willing to fix the problems. But it was the critical nature, or tone, of my report that caused him to push back.
Most people have a difficult time conveying empathy and warmth in writing, and this is especially true in internal audit reports. It is fascinating how often executives feel ambushed when reading a draft audit report, even when we keep them informed about results throughout the course of an audit.