Author:Hayes, Christine Hogan

Newly promoted senior auditors need to master the skills that help develop less experienced auditors.

After gaining years of internal audit experience, associate internal auditors may be promoted to senior internal auditor. Internal audit management may recognize the auditor's professional growth and want to encourage continued development.

Senior internal auditors are responsible for leading audits across the organization while working with associate internal auditors on various audit projects. Through many years' experience, senior auditors have had extensive opportunities to hone internal audit-specific skills, such as testing, work-paper execution, and audit report writing.

New senior auditors may not have experience in the area of developing and coaching the individuals on their audit project team. And while senior auditors may have strategies for teaching internal audit practices and processes, they might not possess the skills that help develop a well-rounded associate auditor. Therefore, it is the senior auditor's responsibility to not only understand what promotes the professional growth of associate auditors, but also the strategies for effectively teaching the skills that ensure success. How the skills are taught often impacts the ability to grasp new internal audit concepts and processes.

Three key communication skills for new senior auditors to master are language selection and usage that encourages learning and growth, demonstrating strong communication skills to strengthen the skills of the team, and facilitating strategic communications through business partnerships. These skills cover the various interactions internal auditors experience daily.

  1. Language Selection

    A senior auditor's word selection, tone, and inflection can make a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of communication. One area in particular is providing constructive feedback. Such feedback, while both well-intentioned and important, may not be well-received because of the inflection and tone of voice. Some associates may be able to hear the message through the inflection and tone, but others may focus solely on it, and completely miss the objective of the message.

    To assess the associate auditor's understanding when explaining an internal audit concept, the senior auditor might ask, "Does that make sense?" versus "Are we okay?" or "Are we good?" This makes a difference in determining progress and encouraging discussion. While it may be well-meaning...

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