A new agenda.

Author:Serafini, Richard M.
Position:Outsourcing in internal auditing - In My Opinion

Earlier this year, I began working for Deloitte & Touche as Director of Internal Audit Services for the Eastern Region. Outsourcing has been a tense and emotional issue in our profession; and I've obviously wondered how my internal auditing colleagues would react. Despite my concerns, I'm convinced that the decision is a positive one. I've spent 24 of my 25 working years in internal auditing; and most of my professional associates seem to accept that I'm still an internal auditor, even though my employer is a public accounting firm.

I also believe that five years from now, we'll see that outsourcing has actually provided some significant benefits to the profession. Much depends on how we deal with it. We can let the outsourcing issue consume us, or we can convert it into a positive force for the profession. I'm obviously placing my bets on the latter option.

I left my previous job as Senior Vice President and General Auditor for Shawmut National Corporation not to join Deloitte, but to start my own consulting firm. I had become frustrated with many outmoded internal auditing practices in the banking industry. I was convinced that the profession had to change, that internal auditors needed to embrace "forward-thinking," as opposed to looking at how they had done things in the past. I wanted to do something to help bring about that change.

I quickly realized, however, that it would be difficult for one person, working alone, to have much impact. Given Deloitte's strengths and credibility in the boardroom, I felt that by joining their team I might have an opportunity to shape - in some small way - the inevitable changes I see ahead for our profession.

* Positive Actions

As internal auditors, we have a decision to make. We can let the outsourcing phenomenon consume us, or we can actually turn it into a positive. Outsourcing can be a benefit to the profession - not necessarily to some of the individuals who are currently practicing in the profession, but to the profession itself. I think we'll have a better product and a better process.

As a member of a Big Six firm that is actively pursuing the internal auditing outsourcing market, I realize that many may perceive me as part of the problem instead, of the solution. I'm convinced, however, that outsourcing can be used to move the profession forward and even protect it.

One way to take advantage of outsourcing is to learn when and how to go outside for help. I still remember the reaction from the...

To continue reading