In this special episode of #jammingwithjason #internalauditpodcast I talk with Trent Russell the host of “The Audit Podcast” about the profession of internal auditing and some “soap box” issues we both feel strongly about to help improve internal audit in organizations. It’s a dual interview style, so you get to hear questions and answers from both of us. Double bonus 🙂
If you haven’t already subscribed to The Audit Podcast, here is the link for it on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-audit-podcast/id1502796518
Trent is also a subject matter expert on data analytics with Greenskies Analytics. You can learn more at: GreenskiesAnalytics.com
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Jason Mefford: Hey everybody it’s Jason Medford, I’m talking with Trent Russell’s today and we thought we’d do something kind of fun because we both have podcasts. So we thought we would just do a combined episode.
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Jason Mefford: Well,
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Trent Russell: Not just podcasts. They both have audit podcast.
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Jason Mefford: Oh, yes, we both have audit podcasts, which is a rarity right in the audit world. So if you’re listening to this somehow you found us or hopefully you’ve clicked on it from, you know, LinkedIn, when we post about it or whatever. But there are actually audit podcasts out there.
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Jason Mefford: So maybe maybe start off just telling us a little bit about your podcast. I’ll tell a little bit about mine because again.
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Jason Mefford: We just want to kind of raise awareness and let people know there’s resources out here and they’re free.
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Trent Russell: And that’s, that’s, that’s part of why I started mine was because it is a resource that’s free and the idea of having to read a white paper or something to that effect just kind of drove me nuts and then obviously the podcast medium has just blown up over the past five years or so.
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Trent Russell: That it just kind of makes sense to do it and to be able to get, you know, the CEO at a fortune 500 company and get their opinion as well as get
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Trent Russell: The audit intern and get their opinion. Like if you watch the first episode that I did, which was just like a, you know, minute intro into what the shows about it’s I want to hear from
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Trent Russell: The Intern to the partner engagement to the CAE and get all their opinions, because I think they’re all important so
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Trent Russell: That’s really what ours is there is no specific industry that we hit and try to on each episode discuss a topic that hasn’t been discussed before, and
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Trent Russell: Usually the guest has an area of expertise that they can kind of dive into to talk about that. So that’s really what what what our shows about
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Jason Mefford: And what’s the title of it again so that people can know where to go to be able to actually access it to
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Trent Russell: Yeah, it’s very complicated. It’s the audit podcast.
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Jason Mefford: No. Well, after I did mine because so. So a little bit about my mind is called jamming with Jason and you know the title is a little funny and people that that don’t really
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Jason Mefford: You know know may not realize it’s actually about audit, but you know, I’m a musician. I like to play the guitar music is an important part of my life.
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Jason Mefford: And so I wanted to have a title that allowed me to talk about audit things but also about other things than just audit, because for me.
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Jason Mefford: You know, the focus of my jammin with Jason podcast is, you know, we interview talked to a lot of CEOs. I mean, that’s who I typically work with and coach.
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Jason Mefford: But I talk about you know it’s it’s a podcast, it’s intended for chief audit executives, but any professional
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Jason Mefford: In internal audit risk or compliance because again that’s been my background, too. So sometimes we’ll talk about more risk management topics or compliance topics or sometimes internal audit, because I was a chief audit executive twice. Right.
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Jason Mefford: But it’s more than just that.
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Jason Mefford: Because I tried to bring in psychology science mindfulness in music as well because the purpose behind my podcast is not just to help you have a better career.
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Jason Mefford: But to also have a better life. And so sometimes you know it’s a combination of, you know, interviews with people like chief executives or other experts.
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Jason Mefford: But sometimes it’s just me talking me pulling out the guitar literally actually playing a little bit and talking about some of these things that we all need as humans to be able to help us unlock our potential have a great life. Have a great career.
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Jason Mefford: Because the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized, a lot of the stuff you get told his BS and almost the exact opposite of what commons common practice breath, like the opposite of common practice is usually what you need to do to succeed.
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Jason Mefford: Which is a little irony to it so
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Trent Russell: Yeah, I had a question for you, then, because most of what my folks here the listeners here is audit specific even
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Trent Russell: Was doing a pre call today with something with a guest and look at their topic list and said, hey, can you take that and how are you gonna
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Trent Russell: relate that to audit and they’re like, Oh, yeah, yeah, no problem. We can do that. So since this is a little bit different. What is something non audit related. I think maybe even in the
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Trent Russell: Pandemic world that we live in right now you’re talking about mindfulness and those kinds of practices that someone should keep in mind, like, What would, what would be a big takeaway that you could give someone
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Trent Russell: On that
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Jason Mefford: Yeah, so one of, one of the things I mean because I’ve done a lot of work myself, you know. And so again, being, being a coach, having gone through lots of coaching programs to try to improve myself.
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Jason Mefford: I think what one of the biggest things that I that I hope to bring to our profession is the fact that
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Jason Mefford: We, we tend to get taught to always look at risk as a bad thing.
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Jason Mefford: To always be in fear of the bad things happening and always looking for the bad things. Right. So again, even in this in this pandemic, you know, I’m sure a lot of people in our industries.
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Jason Mefford: are freaking out because they see all the risk everywhere. And that leads to fear, but that emotion of fear is one of the lowest vibration emotions that we can feel
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Jason Mefford: And it causes us to cycle down. And so again, things like emotional spirals, I’ll talk about right because that’s psychologically and mindfulness kind of based
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Jason Mefford: So bringing in the science behind it. But also, you know, some of the mindfulness and what some people call whoo, whoo, but it’s it’s actually backed by science and I’ve been studying this for 20 years so I know my I know my shit.
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Trent Russell: Okay.
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Jason Mefford: I swear on mine. Again, I don’t know if you do or not. If you have to believe, but
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Trent Russell: Now I’m looking for the first the first one with that little he decided that
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Trent Russell: So this will be the first
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Jason Mefford: You been waiting all right. You want to throw out there too.
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Jason Mefford: I just, you know, because I I knew, like when I started off. I didn’t have the next to mine.
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Jason Mefford: And I realized I was kind of holding back. And so I just marked he with all of them. So, you know, some, some of the episodes are going to be completely clean but some of them.
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Jason Mefford: Might be using some words but OK, back, back to our thing, right, is because we we tend to see the world is negative.
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Jason Mefford: You know, are thinking like everybody’s committing fraud. So we’re always looking for fraud. The problem is when you are trained to do that in your profession.
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Jason Mefford: It carries over into your personal life. And so I tend to find that you know a lot of people in these spaces tend to have a negative outlook on the world.
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Jason Mefford: Right, and instead. So, so I’m trying to help people get out of the fear and actually learn how to manage their emotions so that they can see the positive in the world. You know, if you take something like fraud and everybody’s always every auditor wants to talk about fraud.
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Jason Mefford: Fraud. FRAUD fraud. Fraud. FRAUD right every time, every time on see risk Academy that we do a webinar on fraud. It’s like 1500 people sign up, you
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Jason Mefford: Know and but but the reality is in your organization. There’s maybe one to 5% of the people that are even committing fraud 95 to 99% of the people are doing everything the best they know how
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Jason Mefford: But when we view it from that negative lands, then we start to believe that everybody’s trying to screw the company right
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Jason Mefford: And like I said, I’ve seen that in my own personal life. I’ve seen it with other people that I’ve coached as well that that tends to carry over into our personal life.
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Jason Mefford: And I gotta tell you, if you want to be happy if you want to feel joy. You got to learn how to click that off and and quit doing that in your personal life. So that’s, that’s why I kind of get off on some of these other side areas as well.
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Trent Russell: Yeah, it sounds like it’s separating the office from the home life almost or like a different take on that. Like, you have to be able to shut off the I’m not looking for the thing that you’re doing wrong. You know, like
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Trent Russell: Just walking down the street or
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Trent Russell: Whatever, and I can see that because I was talking to a guest that’s going to be on the show soon.
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Trent Russell: And about fraud and talking about how you. You’ve probably heard it, you have to put your self in the shoes of the fraudster and think like a fraudster define the fraud and so I could imagine.
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Trent Russell: If you’re constantly doing that, you know, from nine to five or whatever the ones five o’clock hits. It’s hard to turn that off. So when you see
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Trent Russell: Something on the news or you know whatever you immediately think, worst case scenario where that person is lying or and if you’re watching the news, you’re probably writing
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Jason Mefford: That’s one of the worst things you can do if you want to manage your emotions.
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Trent Russell: Yeah.
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Jason Mefford: Right, I think, is because they’re they’re targeting they’re trying to get you scared.
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Trent Russell: Yeah yeah and that’s
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Trent Russell: We’re talking about back in that kind of talk with science. I was talking to somebody today again about something similar lifetime fitness, the company.
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Trent Russell: You know the gym, you know you did.
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Trent Russell: Whatever they stopped showing as policy.
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Trent Russell: Fox News and CNN and MSNBC because of the impact it has on your health. And they said, we can’t be a company that’s about health and then put that kind of stuff out there so right. That’s pretty interesting.
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Jason Mefford: Yeah. Well, it isn’t actually because I I even almost take it a little further in that I think a lot of these positive beliefs and views and changing how we think emotionally even needs to be brought into audit.
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Jason Mefford: And the reason for that is we have a poor perception in the organization where the people that tell everybody. They can’t do this or they can’t do that or they have to put in more controls and they have you know
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Jason Mefford: We have to manage all the risk have to do all this stuff. And I think actually we would be better served
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Jason Mefford: To even apply some of these principles more in our organizations you know if if you’re on an engagement that’s specifically about fraud. Okay, flip the switch.
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Jason Mefford: Think like the fraudster the rest of the time, don’t use that same lands, because everybody else feels your energy.
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Jason Mefford: In feels like oh my gosh, I’m doing something wrong. They’re going to find something wrong. Oh my gosh, what are we, you know, kind of a deal. And that is not the way to develop a relationship with people in the organization.
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Trent Russell: And that’s something that we we’ve touched on a little bit on mine is about the relationships and it’s something that we don’t talk about enough to the extent that I feel like
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Trent Russell: Probably make that a standard question is some somehow related to relationships, how it a lack of relationship has impacted you as an audit leader or someone in the audit department or the benefits of having a relationship and for the we have talked about it in one episode and
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Trent Russell: It’s something that kind of the advice that was given was or the way I took it was I’ve been told for years you know as soon as I graduated college it was develop relationships. You got to have good
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Jason Mefford: Relationships.
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Trent Russell: And relationship and you’re just like, I don’t care. Like, just give me the work I’ll do the work. They’ll be impressed by the work and I’ll climb to the top, kind of thing.
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Trent Russell: And it took. I mean, almost 10 years until it kind of hit home that it is about the relationship and
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Trent Russell: How important it is and then also talking about happiness. There is a study or
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Trent Russell: I guess there’s a study that I read about the number one thing is the relationships that you have in your life is the kind of the key to happiness, more or less.
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Trent Russell: And so when you think about that, it really honestly is about the relationships. And if you put all the stuff aside the politics, the
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Trent Russell: You know, for vendors. The wanting to sell something if you just put all that stuff aside and you do make it about the person in a relationship, there is a there is this like level of joy that comes with it. That is
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Trent Russell: Nobody believes you
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Trent Russell: Tell them that until they put
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Trent Russell: effort into it. And then once I do like the light ball just kind of went on for me anyway. And I was like, Okay, this is actually what it is about and that’s not
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Trent Russell: lip service from trying to sell some kind of product or service I genuinely want to have a relationship with someone, especially an internal audit and compliance, because that’s what I enjoy doing so.
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Jason Mefford: Well, it’s interesting because, you know, you made reference there right to that to that study that was the Harvard study. I’m thinking is probably the one that you’re looking at where they actually I think it’s been going on for over 50 years
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Trent Russell: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s it.
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Jason Mefford: Yeah, it’s a Harvard study from 50 so what they did was they actually went back and they they they followed these people who graduated from Harvard over the course of their whole lifetime. Some of these people I think are
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Jason Mefford: It was it’s either 50 or 75 years. It’s a long period of time. And that’s what they found is that, you know, the healthier a relationship that someone had that was the biggest correlation of them.
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Jason Mefford: Feeling happy being healthy as well. So it wasn’t just their emotional state. But literally, their physical health was affected by it as well.
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Jason Mefford: Now when you when you throw that out there and you start talking about relationship with auditors. You know what I always get the feedback on. Oh, I can’t have a relationship with people in the organization because that will that will be a problem with my objectivity.
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Trent Russell: Yeah.
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Jason Mefford: To which I say bullshit right you can still be objective into your job, but if you don’t have a relationship with people you really can’t provide the full value that you need to in the organization.
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Jason Mefford: So anybody who’s complaining about. I don’t have a seat at the table. Nobody’s listening to me they don’t find internal audit relevant. Well, if you’re saying any of those things. It’s because you haven’t developed those relationships.
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Trent Russell: Yeah.
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Jason Mefford: I mean, you develop those relationships. The other things take care of
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Trent Russell: Themselves. Yeah.
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Trent Russell: What C level executive isn’t going to want someone they have a good relationship with to be at the table with them, you know, I mean literally
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Trent Russell: Like you think about your best friend and the stuff that you include them all your friends and stuff that you include them on. It’s the same thing like
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Trent Russell: I don’t, I don’t know. I wish it didn’t take me so long to figure it out, and I hope that
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Trent Russell: The way you’re telling the way I’m telling you that somebody listening between our audiences will go oh yeah you know like, you’re probably right.
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Jason Mefford: Yeah. And again, I mean, because that’s, that’s what I’m trying to get people to do think a little bit different. Change the world be different.
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Jason Mefford: Be yourself and and you’ll be much happier. You’ll be much healthier, but you’ll also be able to add a lot more value to your organization.
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Trent Russell: Yeah.
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Jason Mefford: You know, and I think, you know, you’re mentioned there about the relationships you know i one of the companies where I was, CAE. I noticed a big difference in my effective this
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Jason Mefford: When I got invited to the executive leadership retreats. So, you know, once a quarter we go spend two or three days away. It was the top you know 1015 executives in the company. We’d go play golf, because our CEO love to play golf.
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Jason Mefford: I, I kind of believe like Mark Twain, it’s, it’s a one mile walk wasted. But anyway.
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Jason Mefford: I don’t I don’t prefer I don’t play golf. Really, but
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Trent Russell: I tell people I have clubs.
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Jason Mefford: I have I have clubs. I haven’t pulled them out of my out of the out of the box in eight years since I left that job. But anyway, but but it wasn’t, it was being with them.
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Jason Mefford: On the golf course having the dinners with being in those meetings, but even more importantly, it was me hanging out at the bar.
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Jason Mefford: After the dinner with some of these people and actually developing the relationships.
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Jason Mefford: Some of the mentoring actually that I got from some of these people was fabulous from my life as well. You know, there was one guy who was head of sales. He was at right at the end of his career.
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Jason Mefford: Man, I learned a lot right about about how to be a leader from him, but I also by developing that relationship was able to learn a lot more about the organization and it made my job easier as a CA.
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Trent Russell: Yeah, because there’s going to be information.
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Trent Russell: For most people with hail when they’re talking to audit, regardless of its the CIA or the Internet, whoever so to be able to have that. And then to be
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Trent Russell: comfortable enough to tell you that does make a huge difference because then you know i mean you have the that more or less you want. We shouldn’t call it inside information but you kind of do have that that information. So
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Jason Mefford: You do, and you can balance. You know, you’re
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Jason Mefford: I mean, I, I used to, you know, tell people, I mean, it’s like it’s like that sales guy right if if he was doing something wrong.
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Jason Mefford: I liked him. I was friends with him, but I knew that I had a professional obligation to do my job.
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Jason Mefford: So if there was something that he or someone in his team was not doing that they were supposed to be doing as an example.
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Jason Mefford: I still had no problem because of my personal integrity to still be objective. The way that I needed to be. Now, in the way that I can.
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Jason Mefford: And that’s another fallacy that that if we go back to psychology. Most of us believe that we’re much more objective than we actually are.
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Jason Mefford: So I get a lot of people, you know, an audit that are almost self righteous about, you know, Oh, I’m so objective. No, you’re not. Right.
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Jason Mefford: You know, again, there’s all kinds of cognitive biases and lenses that you’re viewing and bringing to what you’re doing that, you’re not really as objective as you think you are. Anyway, so quit trying to hide behind it and just do your job and help your organization.
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Trent Russell: Yeah, absolutely.
00:19:02.970 –> 00:19:10.920
Trent Russell: A question that I wanted to ask you, and I asked every guest said maybe the listeners are looking forward to it. It usually
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Trent Russell: Is usually good answer that comes from it, but it is
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Jason Mefford: Might not be for me.
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Trent Russell: Is like your, is your soapbox topic, though, or your, the way I typically describe it, maybe a pet peeve.
00:19:24.450 –> 00:19:33.360
Trent Russell: Within the audit world the way I typically described as if you could grab every auditor by the shoulders in the world and shake them and say do this thing. Listen to what I’m saying.
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Trent Russell: And maybe relationships is is that are a piece of it, then what would that be. And the reason I really would like your opinion is, you talked to so many different CEOs from from your podcast, because it’s been around for so long. And because of what you’re doing through
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Trent Russell: Your training platform with cirrus that you get exposure, those people and then you’ve also done it yourself. So you’ve kind of
00:19:58.800 –> 00:20:08.340
Trent Russell: You’ve been in it, but you’re also looking at it from the outside. Also, you know, looking at it from the outside looking in. Now, so what what is your, what is your, your soapbox topic.
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Jason Mefford: Reach through and shake him a little bit actually. It’s, it’s funny that you say that because I said, You know, I’m a really kind guy, you know, on my podcast.
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Jason Mefford: But sometimes I’m going to reach through and I’m going to shake you and I might even slap you a little bit because you need to hear it, right, because I care about you care about people in this industry and. And so for me, kind of a soapbox side of it is
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Jason Mefford: I’ve, I’ve been in this industry for a long time. Decades right and I, and I’ve been through. I’ve been in those positions and
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Jason Mefford: The profession publicly tries to talk about how relevant and how important we are
00:20:50.550 –> 00:21:05.100
Jason Mefford: To organizations and we’re a profession because we we do the QA IP. Well that’s bullshit. Okay, it’s just because you do, that does not mean that you’re going to be relevant and valuable to your organization.
00:21:05.550 –> 00:21:13.290
Jason Mefford: Now we do play an important role in governance in an organization, but you have to earn it.
00:21:14.370 –> 00:21:19.470
Jason Mefford: And you can’t just stand up and say, well, I’m the internal auditor, you must listen to me. Right.
00:21:20.250 –> 00:21:30.090
Jason Mefford: And and people actually doing that and taking that sort of an approach has been hurting our profession for a long time.
00:21:30.900 –> 00:21:40.110
Jason Mefford: Because, again, we get viewed as the negative people, the people who are jerks to work with and and again what I’ve seen from
00:21:40.740 –> 00:21:52.890
Jason Mefford: A lot of these major downturns that we’ve gone through, you know, if you rewind back to the late 90s, to the early 2000s to 2008 and now with what we’re going through now.
00:21:53.400 –> 00:22:07.800
Jason Mefford: All of these different events that we have lived through has lessened the relevance of internal audit in most organizations and some people are going to go, What are you talking about, let me, let me try to explain
00:22:09.060 –> 00:22:22.080
Jason Mefford: When you, when you took something like you know the.com bubble and in the introduction of Sarbanes Oxley it pushed internal audit back into more of a financial reporting compliance role.
00:22:23.010 –> 00:22:35.580
Jason Mefford: At the same time, organizations started developing or creating separate compliance risk management functions other internal assurance functions.
00:22:36.150 –> 00:22:40.230
Jason Mefford: That historically, up until that point internal audit had done a lot of that work.
00:22:41.220 –> 00:22:50.010
Jason Mefford: Now, I think one of the reasons is we haven’t been doing as well as a profession as a lot of people are telling you
00:22:50.460 –> 00:22:58.500
Jason Mefford: Because there’s, there would be no reason for the for the companies to create these other groups, if we were doing our job the way we’re supposed to
00:22:59.490 –> 00:23:10.830
Jason Mefford: And so because there’s more of these functions. Now that led to the whole three lines of defense model, right, that didn’t exist, you know,
00:23:11.460 –> 00:23:17.700
Jason Mefford: I’m trying to remember what it came out I think he came out and must have been like 2008 2009 something like that when it first kind of came out.
00:23:18.150 –> 00:23:19.590
Jason Mefford: Why do you think he came out, then
00:23:20.130 –> 00:23:33.300
Jason Mefford: Well 2008 everybody started creating more risk management functions and other stuff. And all of a sudden, we’re like, hold it. Just a minute. There’s this second line of defense now that there never was before. How are we going to deal with this. Right.
00:23:34.110 –> 00:23:46.350
Jason Mefford: Well, that’s because again I don’t think we’ve been as relevant as we need to be. And so, you know, quit. Get off your high horse quit trying to be idealistic
00:23:46.830 –> 00:24:01.020
Jason Mefford: And just be practical and do what your organization needs. If you want to be relevant develop the relationships provide value for what the organization needs.
00:24:01.500 –> 00:24:12.870
Jason Mefford: Quit quit worrying about the historical stuff and actually take more of a risk based approach. Yeah, that’s another little soapbox for me if you’ll indulge me for a minute.
00:24:12.870 –> 00:24:13.260
Jason Mefford: Because
00:24:13.890 –> 00:24:24.360
Jason Mefford: You know that concept came out about 25 years ago and still to this day, I would say 90% of the auditors Miss understand that concept.
00:24:25.500 –> 00:24:34.290
Jason Mefford: They risk rank what they think is important, instead of actually tying and thinking of risk from an objective standpoint.
00:24:34.860 –> 00:24:45.090
Jason Mefford: Right. And actually, tying it back to the objectives and working with the organization that way. That’s why I wrote a book about it you know 10 years ago because nobody was listening.
00:24:45.960 –> 00:24:55.050
Jason Mefford: People still aren’t listening. That’s why I created a whole certification course on risk based internal auditing because people still aren’t getting it.
00:24:55.740 –> 00:25:08.130
Jason Mefford: And and until I think we we understand those concepts more to it’s going to be hard for us to prove our relevance for people because because we come in with some Tacky, tacky little thing.
00:25:08.610 –> 00:25:19.320
Jason Mefford: Right. Oh, you know, we found that 20% of these reports were not approved by the right person, and the executive looks at us and goes so
00:25:19.440 –> 00:25:26.070
Jason Mefford: Yeah, can you help me fix this $20 million issue that I have over here. That’s the bigger risk, folks.
00:25:26.280 –> 00:25:45.360
Jason Mefford: Yeah, it’s not the Tacky, tacky compliance stuff that we’ve been doing it’s helping them, actually, you know, deal with and maybe get more assurance about or improve the processes around some of these major risk areas strategic level risk areas but
00:25:45.480 –> 00:25:47.400
Jason Mefford: We’re not. We’re not going there and we should be
00:25:47.910 –> 00:25:59.310
Trent Russell: That’s one of the things I think that drives me nuts. Also, is this is what, this is what we’re going to test these are the controls. We’re going to look at these are the risks that we found. And it’s like, just ask the person
00:25:59.520 –> 00:26:00.630
Trent Russell: Asking what
00:26:01.770 –> 00:26:06.240
Trent Russell: They think that you would know their process better than they would know it is insane.
00:26:06.720 –> 00:26:09.300
Trent Russell: And something something interesting that I was thinking about
00:26:11.310 –> 00:26:20.280
Trent Russell: Or maybe I haven’t read about that. What was. Yeah, I was reading about it. Sorry. A couple weeks ago was the idea that if you ask somebody in that in that process.
00:26:20.700 –> 00:26:35.940
Trent Russell: You know that say there’s four people. You ask all four. What’s the process, you’ll get different answers from each one of them. So, even then, like they don’t know the business doesn’t necessarily know every aspect of that process. So to enter into it every day. So to think that
00:26:42.210 –> 00:26:44.040
Trent Russell: I think that happened last time we had a conversation
00:26:45.780 –> 00:26:46.650
Trent Russell: It was a
00:26:46.740 –> 00:27:01.140
Trent Russell: I have one my phone has been on vibrate since I was 16 years old. I’ve always said it on vibrate after we had a kid. Two years ago I told my wife, I’ll, I’ll make it to where when you call it’ll ring. So if it’s an emergency. I’ll always know
00:27:03.420 –> 00:27:05.640
Trent Russell: Apparently, she didn’t get the memo, though.
00:27:06.450 –> 00:27:08.400
Jason Mefford: Did you work well that
00:27:10.080 –> 00:27:16.920
Trent Russell: They don’t have rotisserie chickens at the grocery store. What do you want for lunch. That’s not an emergency, that’s a situation like you don’t have to call me for that.
00:27:18.420 –> 00:27:19.230
00:27:21.420 –> 00:27:37.650
Trent Russell: Yeah. All that to say, yeah, just asked what the ask what the risk is to them and what they care about and pose it as way I say it is pose it as, you know, we’re internal audit. We’re also process improvement and think of us as your own in house consulting firm like if you went and hired
00:27:38.700 –> 00:27:48.540
Trent Russell: consultants from McKinsey or something like that you would want them, you know, think of internal audit as those people that can help you almost get to your like
00:27:49.740 –> 00:27:53.250
Trent Russell: meet your objectives with their help, as the way I see it, because you can
00:27:53.700 –> 00:28:01.290
Trent Russell: You can use internal audit to facilitate the change that you need to happen. You know, there is some authority within into an internal audit.
00:28:01.560 –> 00:28:16.980
Trent Russell: That can help drive the things that the business needs to meet those objectives. So all that to say, yeah, just ask. Just ask the business. What’s the risk. What do you want us to look at why do you want us to look at it and and work that into the plan.
00:28:18.000 –> 00:28:20.640
Jason Mefford: Well, and I think it’s funny, you know, as you as you said that it actually
00:28:21.810 –> 00:28:30.240
Jason Mefford: Reminded me of an exact conversation that I have with this with a CA about this right is he said, You know, I’m doing my audit plan and
00:28:30.810 –> 00:28:46.980
Jason Mefford: You know, trying to trying to come up and I’m not really, you know, sure we’ve got this ERS function now and they’re kind of doing their own their own risk assessment and I’m doing one for my audit plan. I said, well, because my, my suggestion is just use the RM risk assessment.
00:28:47.490 –> 00:28:54.270
Jason Mefford: And so I said, well, why aren’t you using your company’s CRM risk assessment to determine your honor plan. And he said,
00:28:54.840 –> 00:29:00.750
Jason Mefford: Well, because they’re a little too high level, they don’t really get down to the detail level that I need in my audit plan.
00:29:01.500 –> 00:29:08.850
Jason Mefford: And I said, why, why do you think you need to get down to that detail level. And he said, well, that’s always where where we’ve been.
00:29:09.480 –> 00:29:16.710
Jason Mefford: Auditing right that’s what those are the process level the transaction stream level that’s, that’s where we audit add
00:29:17.490 –> 00:29:30.420
Jason Mefford: And I’m like, do you think that has more value or those strategic level risks, you know, which one do you think would provide more value to have assurance on and he’s had, you know, at first, and kind of them. The light bulb went off and he’s like,
00:29:31.260 –> 00:29:37.950
Jason Mefford: Oh, I’m like, Yeah, you know, it’s like, I mean that you’re spending all this time and money.
00:29:38.820 –> 00:29:46.290
Jason Mefford: In your company to do this big era risk assessment, we should be basing our audit plan directly off of that.
00:29:46.920 –> 00:29:54.990
Jason Mefford: And not try to be so far down in the weeds. You know, if you’re so far down in the weeds. The executives don’t care about what you’re doing.
00:29:55.650 –> 00:30:04.800
Jason Mefford: Why, because they’re dealing with the strategic level risks if we don’t start working at that level and try to help them solve the problems that they have at that level.
00:30:05.190 –> 00:30:21.900
Jason Mefford: You’re never going to be seen as being relevant. You’re just going to be seen as another cost of doing business and other compliance function that we have that, we have to do instead of actually helping them and helping the company achieve its overall strategic objectives.
00:30:22.140 –> 00:30:33.600
Trent Russell: Yeah, and you’re talking mindfulness earlier. I think there’s a level of mindfulness that comes with that and we are now in the weeds too much and being aware of that and pulling yourself back out of it to look at, at the the
00:30:34.530 –> 00:30:42.990
Trent Russell: The high level objectives and risks and things that circle back to your, you know, kind of some of the topics that you you hit on and your podcast.
00:30:43.860 –> 00:30:50.820
Jason Mefford: Also I’ll have, but if I flip the flip the question around on you to kind of, you know, help us close out a little bit because we we could go on for hours, but I’m
00:30:50.820 –> 00:30:53.340
Jason Mefford: Sure. People need to get to doing whatever they’re doing but
00:30:53.700 –> 00:30:55.380
Jason Mefford: What’s kind of your soapbox item.
00:30:56.790 –> 00:31:00.210
Trent Russell: I think so. In addition to the podcast.
00:31:02.010 –> 00:31:14.280
Trent Russell: I do data analytics for other internal audit departments and what kind of drives me nuts is when there is no adaption or want to
00:31:15.420 –> 00:31:27.570
Trent Russell: Have adapting to technology. It is one of the easiest ways to get wins and to get that trust with executives and with management.
00:31:28.890 –> 00:31:34.050
Trent Russell: Is to use the technology like there’s no reason. Definitely no reason, everything should be on paper.
00:31:34.650 –> 00:31:41.010
Trent Russell: The tools are out there now, like they’re relatively cheap enough there. I will say they are cheap enough and there is for every
00:31:41.610 –> 00:31:51.420
Trent Russell: Every audit department, there is something that can be used like I know there was, I was talking to someone they’re an audit department of one. And there, again, I understand the value of analytics, or at least
00:31:52.140 –> 00:32:01.800
Trent Russell: Being told the value of analytics. So I know we need to work on it and get it incorporated. But, you know, how can we do that and even with that small audit department of one
00:32:02.490 –> 00:32:12.450
Trent Russell: There is a process that you can use. And there’s tools that you can use to get analytics into your department and to get more tech into your apartment. So there is, you know,
00:32:14.640 –> 00:32:28.920
Trent Russell: There is just the overall lack of wanting to change and wanting to integrate technology into the audit department is kind of what drives me nuts.
00:32:30.150 –> 00:32:37.950
Trent Russell: Like I think every department should have a developer, more or less, and especially the large, large ones.
00:32:38.220 –> 00:32:40.920
Trent Russell: If you get somebody that’s a technologist. That’s a developer
00:32:41.010 –> 00:32:55.140
Trent Russell: And just put them into your department, the amount of value that they’re going to add once they especially if they don’t understand how it works. But, you know, once I kind of get acclimated to it. It’s insane. So I think that’s my biggest soapbox is when I talked to somebody and they
00:32:56.220 –> 00:33:04.740
Trent Russell: Have no initiative to want to make the department better and they have no initiative to use technology to do that.
00:33:05.640 –> 00:33:11.280
Jason Mefford: Well, and it’s funny because actually, you know, as I’m thinking about both of the soapbox items, we’ve been talking about.
00:33:12.750 –> 00:33:21.030
Jason Mefford: And again, this is you know it’s personality wise, a little bit. You know when you when you kind of analyze because a lot of people that gravitate to these professions.
00:33:22.140 –> 00:33:24.270
Jason Mefford: Are fairly square
00:33:24.600 –> 00:33:33.540
Jason Mefford: Right, we fit we fit into. We’d like to be compliant, you know, we’re SES on the disc profile. If you, if anybody’s familiar with that for the most part.
00:33:34.200 –> 00:33:39.750
Jason Mefford: And so we don’t like to rock the boat. We don’t like to do things that are a little bit different. We’re afraid of change.
00:33:40.500 –> 00:33:51.300
Jason Mefford: And, you know, again, I see that from both what I’m talking about of, well, you know, for 100 years we’ve been auditing the same kind of stuff. And now, what do you mean we have to start auditing something different.
00:33:52.020 –> 00:34:03.300
Jason Mefford: Yeah. And people are like, ah, that’s change. I don’t want to do that. Right. Same thing with you, you know, every audit now has an element of technology to it.
00:34:04.380 –> 00:34:11.970
Jason Mefford: And if you’re uncomfortable with technology. If you’re scared if you’re going, I don’t understand it. I don’t know how to do it. Well, we need to figure out how to do it.
00:34:12.210 –> 00:34:24.720
Jason Mefford: Yeah, and and you can you can bury your head in the sand, you know, be the ostrich. But if you do, then just realize that you’re losing more relevance.
00:34:25.530 –> 00:34:34.350
Jason Mefford: And eventually, people are going to say, why do we have this group over here, they’re still trying to audit us like it was 100 years ago and they’re just totally missing the boat.
00:34:35.040 –> 00:34:47.100
Jason Mefford: So we do have to change and that kind of gets back to my whole idea of fear. I want people to quit living in fear. Fear of change. Fear of whatever else. Right. And just actually embrace it.
00:34:47.310 –> 00:34:47.610
Trent Russell: Yeah.
00:34:47.640 –> 00:34:52.380
Jason Mefford: Change your mindset change your story about it, learn how to do it.
00:34:53.280 –> 00:35:00.330
Jason Mefford: Because if you don’t, you know, the world is moving forward. If you’re not moving forward with it. You’re moving backwards. It’s like you’re on an escalator.
00:35:00.780 –> 00:35:11.430
Jason Mefford: You know that’s going down unless you keep moving forward, you know, and if you move forward slowly kind of stay in place if you just stand there, you’re going to end up back down at the bottom again.
00:35:11.790 –> 00:35:15.060
Trent Russell: Yeah, exactly. That’s what you can do it incrementally. You don’t have to
00:35:16.050 –> 00:35:20.520
Trent Russell: Yeah, thousands and thousands of dollars to get the tools in and understand them.
00:35:21.870 –> 00:35:28.440
Trent Russell: Like, and I’ll bring it back to the podcast. One reason for myself that I started as a
00:35:30.960 –> 00:35:40.320
Trent Russell: self development type goal was, I’ve always been a person that and probably most of us are I want everything to be perfect. Okay, now I’m prepared to do that thing.
00:35:40.620 –> 00:35:47.670
Trent Russell: And I knew what the podcast I knew how many steps there word to doing it and to get it on a routine basis and make it a process.
00:35:48.000 –> 00:36:00.540
Trent Russell: And instead of I knew myself would want everything to be laid out perfectly. Now, record the first episode and instead it was just like, I think I’ve made a post about it on LinkedIn. I was kind of got a wild hair one day.
00:36:03.090 –> 00:36:07.470
Trent Russell: Yeah, I was like, I want to start, not a podcast. Now just got to figure out how to do that.
00:36:07.740 –> 00:36:18.720
Trent Russell: And so that’s kind of where it started. And just like go get a guest, that’s one thing that I need. That’s the you know pivotal piece of it hit record and put it out there. And so, you know, slowly but surely
00:36:19.410 –> 00:36:26.970
Trent Russell: We’ve kind of developed this process for the show and have added all kinds of, you know, intros and outros and all the
00:36:27.300 –> 00:36:44.430
Trent Russell: That kind of production stuff. And I think it’s the same way if you are not using tech right now. You don’t have to just make a complete like one at just start somewhere and add a little bit to it, even if that’s just, you know, using Excel more often or something as a stepping point but
00:36:46.230 –> 00:36:50.970
Trent Russell: So that’s probably the thing that I would say. And then also, we’re talking
00:36:52.170 –> 00:36:58.230
Trent Russell: We’re talking soapboxes and my other big one, because I think you kind of did to also right so I’m going to do.
00:36:58.380 –> 00:37:00.120
Jason Mefford: Okay, you, you, you, too. It’s fair
00:37:00.390 –> 00:37:00.750
00:37:02.700 –> 00:37:09.150
Jason Mefford: Is the idea and I caught myself saying that it is just the tool. And I don’t think this is super new information.
00:37:09.450 –> 00:37:16.890
Trent Russell: And the idea that just because you have the tool doesn’t mean that’s going to fix the problem or if you’ve invested, you know,
00:37:17.550 –> 00:37:26.310
Trent Russell: $20,000 in analytics tools licenses that you’re going to be data driven or anything to that effect. And so what what I always tell people is
00:37:26.670 –> 00:37:38.400
Trent Russell: And what drives me nuts is the the department that buys a license for everybody and says, we’re all going to start doing analytics and we’re going to be data driven and
00:37:39.660 –> 00:37:48.090
Trent Russell: You know, we’re going to be cutting edge and I’ll say analytics is a is a is something that you have to enjoy.
00:37:48.630 –> 00:38:01.860
Trent Russell: Because it’s constantly learning. It’s always changing. You know, this tool now, but in a year, there’s going to be a better tool. There’s going to be a cheaper total, you’re going to want to switch. And so, like, my pet peeve is just the folks that by the tool and think that
00:38:02.910 –> 00:38:08.880
Trent Russell: Now, they’re going to be using Analytics, you have to find the person in your department that already has an interest in it.
00:38:09.840 –> 00:38:14.460
Trent Russell: And then work with them to get them skilled up to where they can use it. So if you don’t have somebody
00:38:14.880 –> 00:38:20.130
Trent Russell: That’s already doing stuff in Excel or someone that you could talk to if you want to get that incorporated and say,
00:38:20.610 –> 00:38:25.710
Trent Russell: I want you to go through and talk to each member on the team, or whatever. However, you have it laid out.
00:38:26.190 –> 00:38:32.640
Trent Russell: Look at their the audits. They have coming up and and figure out how you can use Analytics, even if it’s just an Excel.
00:38:33.150 –> 00:38:47.910
Trent Russell: To do some of the, the work you know if that person doesn’t exist, then you’re, you’re basically you’re wasting your money and I’ve seen it. I’ve advised people don’t do it that way. Don’t just go by the tool and assume it’s going to work. They do it anyway and then a year later, they say.
00:38:49.020 –> 00:38:55.140
Trent Russell: Yeah, we don’t really use the tool, other than I’ve given this example we take samples with it, just like
00:38:56.520 –> 00:39:08.610
Trent Russell: That $35,000 to do something you can do for free. So it’s just that. That’s my biggest one, don’t assume that the tool is going to work and don’t assume that once you get the tool that people are just going to gravitate to it. And all of a sudden become technologists.
00:39:09.330 –> 00:39:13.950
Trent Russell: To use the tool effectively and get that ROI. That’s that you’re looking for.
00:39:15.030 –> 00:39:26.130
Jason Mefford: Yeah. Well, like you said, trying to have everybody in the department do it is usually a waste of your time. You know, one or two people to begin with because because as you were talking to. I was remembering. You know, it’s
00:39:27.180 –> 00:39:36.030
Jason Mefford: In sometimes it’s frustrating. I know it was frustrating for me because I always like to make quick progress. I’m a type a kind of personality.
00:39:36.600 –> 00:39:46.170
Jason Mefford: But it’s, you know, we have to have patience as we go along to these incremental steps are the things that are going to get us to where we need to be
00:39:46.800 –> 00:39:53.280
Jason Mefford: You know, and it’s, you know, the last ca position that I went into I remember, you know, when I first went in.
00:39:54.510 –> 00:40:03.060
Jason Mefford: I asked the CEO and CFO and a few people some different questions as I kind of went around, you know, it’s like, well, do we have a mission statement, you know,
00:40:04.140 –> 00:40:15.600
Jason Mefford: We have a vision we have values. What about policies, you know, I’m asking all these kind of fundamental things. And when I found out that none of that stuff really existed.
00:40:16.320 –> 00:40:26.190
Jason Mefford: Right, I knew that I had to. It’s hard to audit when there’s no policies right and so there was some work that we had to do to begin with.
00:40:27.120 –> 00:40:38.010
Jason Mefford: Before we could ever really do what I had envisioned that we’d be able to do. And it took four or five years to get to that point, you know, and that’s just, that’s just the way it is. So,
00:40:38.520 –> 00:40:50.640
Jason Mefford: Yeah, you know, don’t think you’re going to accomplish everything overnight, you’re all on big huge battleships, and they take time to turn and, you know, but just slow and steady wins the race, you do a little bit
00:40:52.020 –> 00:40:54.180
Jason Mefford: And you’ll end up getting to where you want to be.
00:40:54.600 –> 00:40:58.920
Trent Russell: Yeah, I think the first step is you subscribe to the jamming with Jason podcast and
00:41:00.330 –> 00:41:01.140
Jason Mefford: Have the Audubon.
00:41:02.250 –> 00:41:03.780
Trent Russell: Those are excellent first steps.
00:41:04.890 –> 00:41:05.490
Jason Mefford: They are
00:41:06.120 –> 00:41:07.110
Jason Mefford: Well, this has been fun.
00:41:07.380 –> 00:41:08.490
Trent Russell: As good appreciate it.
00:41:08.670 –> 00:41:16.440
Jason Mefford: I hope everybody hope everybody enjoyed it give you a little flavor of both Trent and myself. But yeah, no, seriously.
00:41:17.280 –> 00:41:27.270
Jason Mefford: You know I know everybody’s looking for free stuff. People love free stuff podcasts are free, my friends. So, you know, go out and listen and you know when you when you
00:41:28.200 –> 00:41:38.850
Jason Mefford: Listen, when you hear some of this stuff. I mean, if you want to go deeper in it then reach out to me, I’ll let you know where to go deeper to get into a course or some other kind of thing. If you want to learn more about it.
00:41:39.450 –> 00:41:46.890
Jason Mefford: But like transcend it’s a first step, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know. And sometimes just listening and going, oh, hold it right
00:41:47.250 –> 00:41:59.070
Jason Mefford: So hopefully even something that we talked about today, gave you a little bit of an idea. So now just make a step take one little step that’s next week to get you closer to where you want to be.
00:41:59.580 –> 00:42:04.170
Trent Russell: Yeah, and we’re both active enough on LinkedIn shoot a message there and we’ll get back to you.
00:42:04.290 –> 00:42:07.800
Jason Mefford: You can find us. It’s easy to find us on LinkedIn.
00:42:09.060 –> 00:42:20.640
Jason Mefford: So yeah, just reach out to us because I know I’m here to help. I know trends here to help because we really do care about our profession and one out. Want to help all of you. So reach out
00:42:22.680 –> 00:42:25.410
Jason Mefford: Alright, well this has been fun Trent, we might have to do this again a little bit
00:42:25.440 –> 00:42:36.120
Trent Russell: Yeah, I think so. It was good stuff, or just have you on as a solo episode, I think I’m gonna get a lot of positive feedback and especially because this is going to be the only episode with that little he decided that we talked about.
00:42:37.980 –> 00:42:40.200
Jason Mefford: For all of those are like my potty mouth. I’ll be back.
00:42:42.330 –> 00:42:42.930
Jason Mefford: Alright.
00:42:43.890 –> 00:42:44.940
Jason Mefford: Sounds good. Well, thanks.
00:42:45.090 –> 00:42:46.260
Trent Russell: I appreciate it. Take care.