Year 1 – 1988 – new auditor

Year 1 – 1988

My first audit position was in an organization employed over 100 auditors divided into business lines: finance, HR, operations, and IT. I was hired as a Senior IT auditor even though I had no internal audit experience and only (what I felt was) limited IT experience. On top of that, I was getting very little (read “no”) support from my supervisor.  To be fair, there were hundreds of application systems and new system development projects and only 3 IT auditors; so my supervisor was busy conducting his own IT audits. (BTW, I was called an EDP auditor at the time; but I am using the newer term.) After reading 6 feet (literally) of printed documentation on the company, audit, and audit procedures I was “ready” to start auditing.

Our IT environment was almost exclusively IBM mainframe computers and applications. There was a certain amount of distributed processing and a few mini-computers. At a previous job I had learned JCL, TSO/ISPF (both mainframe essentials) as well as a couple of applications such as Wilbur and S2K. I was definitely not a programmer – but I had taken several introductory programming courses (e.g. FORTRAN, COBOL, Pascal, XPL, and PL1) in university. I was more of an “intelligent end-user”. I knew enough about IT to talk to programmers and explain what I needed, but now I had to do more than just talk IT.

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Pre – 1988 …. before my analytics journey had begun

Analytics in audit attracts people from a variety of backgrounds and I am no different in that regard. I started my career as a games room supervisor at the Boys and Girls Club and worked my way up to a guidance counsellor position. I was mainly working with disadvantaged children (and some juvenile delinquents) ages 6 –17. While the work was rewarding, the pay was not. I was working about 60 hours a week (including Saturday 09:00 – 5:00) for less than $12K/year. Also after 10 years, I felt it was time to move on to new challenges. I decided to go back to school, improve my marketability and skills, and (hopefully) get a better paying job.

I obtained my MBA from University of Toronto and went into the job market with new skills and high hopes. It was a time when jobs were more plentiful and I was fortunate to get a position in IT support. You might think this is a strange combination – a background in guidance and counselling and now working in IT, but I always felt that I was a bridge between the two disciplines (HR and IT). I knew just enough about the soft and technical sides of things that I could talk to both groups.

Continue reading Pre – 1988 …. before my analytics journey had begun

A little about me…

Before I begin, I must recognize the support from my wife (aka “Kitten” – which she does not like to be called). Not only did she allow me to take a year’s leave without pay so I could write my books and kick start my consulting business, but she was also my go-to person when I need help with the logic and programming behind a difficult analysis. Many the times I have explained my problem and the functionality of ACL so that she could write the pseudo-code for me which I then converted to ACL commands. Typically it took her less than 30 minutes to program something that I had been working on for days (and she doesn’t know ACL).

My current plan is to write a blog that includes snippets from each of my 28 years of audit and my consulting both during and after my ‘retirement’. We will see if I manage to accomplish my goals – it is already several months since I retired and I only recently figured out how to develop and maintain a blog (with help from my daughter).

In this blog I have included estimates of the saving identified through the analytics, but perhaps more important are the lessons-learned at each stage of my development. I have learned many things from both the effort involved in performing the task and my mistakes in doing so. Some of the lesson-learned were evident immediately, other were only recognized many years after the initial event.

Lastly, please publicize this blog far and wide to allow everyone to learn from the contents. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the read.