A group of less experienced and newer auditors were selected to try out the new tool before it was rolled out department-wide.
If you’re not familiar with my ‘Quote of the Weak’ series, I described it briefly in About. For a list of posts in this series, see here. If you haven’t seen one of these posts before, it’s because I haven’t had one in a while…
When I heard this tool was coming, I wondered why we are lowering our tools to the level of some of our struggling auditors rather than raise our auditors’ skills to use our current tools, but that’s another topic entirely.
From what I heard, someone in senior management recommended the tool, so we are spending decent money to acquire it and roll it out. A recent rumor says that this tool is the silver bullet to help our newbie auditors. But I digress.
Anyway, this tool hides all the code behind buttons, so the person using it doesn’t know how it works (or whether it works), which doesn’t really matter, because the auditors using it won’t know the difference anyway. The name of the tool doesn’t matter, as several of this type exist in the market.
The auditors were asked to try the tool on live data that they were currently auditing. No specific instructions were given to them other than to “try it out and see what works”.
One team member (slightly more experienced that the rest, and with more common sense–let’s call him Sid) used the tool to redo some of the audit testing that he just completed. He tried most of the options, and in the end, he told audit management that he didn’t see the need for the tool as he could do all the analysis in our existing tools.
During the tool testing, Sid had watched the others in the group do sorts, filtering, sampling, and simple statistics. No joins, fuzzy lookups, or anything other than the simplest of commands.
After one auditor clicked a couple buttons and got immediate results, she said, “Wow, this tool totally eliminates the need for auditor judgment and critical thinking!”
In other words, said auditor no longer needed to understand the data, how fields in the data related to each other, what values are appropriate in some fields, but not others, etc.
She no longer needs to ponder what tests were most applicable to the audit objective and could be performed on the data at hand. No, just load the data and click a couple buttons! So how does she know which buttons to click so their magic appears?
If auditor judgement and critical thinking aren’t needed, then why is she needed? She needs a tool, but no judgment?
Before Sid could respond to auditor #1’s bizarre comment, something else happened. Another auditor ran the statistic command, which resulted in many highlighted fields indicating blank values, negative values, values of zero, summed values, and other items of interest.
“This is cool, but what do I do with this information?” auditor #2 asked, not realizing that he just contradicted auditor #1’s previous statement.
Auditor #1 leaned over and peered at auditor #2’s results, and remarked, “No clue.”
“And I can understand why,” Sid mumbled to himself as he sulked away, shaking his head.