“I Don’t Have Time for This.” Ok, Who Else Does?

photoIn a volunteer environment like IIA local chapters, the time spent by volunteers can be very significant, to plan, organize, and implement activities. I am always impressed with many IIA volunteers I have come across that put lots of their effort and hard work to progress whatever they aim to do, for their members and larger community, i.e. IIA Canada and the profession.

Given the same context, it is also understandable that personal circumstances of individual volunteers may change. Changes in one’s career. Changes in workload at work. Changes in personal life e.g, studies in graduate or professional programs. These constraints directly put pressure on them to participate or follow their commitment or other fellow volunteer’s expectation. When one starts saying “I don’t have time for this.”, it is naturally expected that workload is shifted to others. Would others always have time for extra volunteer work? Maybe yes. Likely not. Now it comes to whether the work left behind should be ignored and let it slipped away.  That is the question of a quality of volunteerism, at both individual and organizational levels – Effectiveness. Many volunteer groups do not have it and that results in their organization’s mandate  undermined, their objectives not achieved, and their volunteer motivation running dry.

Fortunately, our chapter always has someone step up to ensure work is completed, commitment is followed, and leadership is demonstrated. As a chapter member, I am grateful with that.

Love Me. Love Me Not.

photo (2)Last Friday, our sixth annual fraud conference took place at the Union Club of BC. This year we had Linda Murray of the Law Society of BC; Andrew Cowan of RCMP; Dr. John Yuille of the Forensic Alliance; Steven Johnston of Alberta Justice; and Colin Cree of e-Forensic Services Inc. for this event. It was a productive for the event organizer and participants alike, I concluded. Our venue was filled up to its capacity!

I was comparing the first fraud conference we did in 2008 when we had it as a 2-day event with 10 speakers and 77 participants with all hard-copy materials provided. We become much more careful for budgeting (pricing), greener (no more paper material distribution), and experienced in term of event organization. I had been always a great event for the chapter and it was again on that day.

We are working with Dr. John to tailor an investigation workshop which we plan to deliver some time in the first quarter in 2014. We hope it will attract many participants.

Fraud is everywhere. Love it or not. We would rather be aware, at least.

Please Stay on Path. We Love to.

DSC00121 The month of August 2013 was one of the most exciting times for us.  Two great things did happen. Literally, we were getting comfortable to try new things and they worked… quite well.

PD events in summer were considered “what not to do” as it was thought that people would be away on vacation and so on. Also, summer months are for a break from volunteer activities. This is not uncommon, we know. Nonetheless, this year was the second year we delivered a full day workshop in summer. Last year “Champion of Changes” workshop was a trailblazer. We had a great turnout. This year “Critical Thinking for Auditors (by Phil Flora)” was another successful event.

With the same workshop, we also broke our regular territory (Victoria) to Nanaimo (an upper island area!! Well, since our chapter’s name is Vancouver Island Chapter, we were supposed to do that, weren’t we? We planned last  year but were not able to make it due to limited resources. Finally, it did happen this year. With a group of 20 participants, that was double from what we had expected.

Surely, we will stay on this path, going beyond our comfort zone to meet our mission.

Can we together be the Mosaic?

photo (1)We are always amazed with a beautiful mosaic. A number of colorful pieces that are carefully put together turn to be a beautiful image. The image itself may be impressive for some. For others, how each piece was planned to align with other pieces may be even more intriguing.  The authentic work takes time. The result can be priceless and may last very long.

Can the internal audit profession be like such a mosaic?,  I wonder.   The image of independence. The image of objectivity. The image of creditability. The image that is not seen by ourselves but by colleagues and executive management we work within our organization, by audit committee members we assist them to discharge their fiduciary duty, and by the public at large that see our task as one of the most important elements in good corporate governance.

I look at myself as a piece of mosaic. I look at other fellows as different colorful pieces. I look at our professional standards as a blueprint that each piece can be put together. That can make a beautiful image. However, I do think another element is required to make this mosaic stick together, become impressive and last very long – our passion to further our profession through our daily work, our energy to learn and build relationship with stakeholders, and our involvement in local community.


Head vs Heart

DSC05713Early this month, our chapter joined the IIA national workshop meeting in Calgary. This was always a great gathering among the chapter leaders across this country and it was my fourth national workshop. Social events were great. Many discussion was meaningful and truly collaborative. I think the event was another regular success.

When I came to think of the fellows I met, I felt great. It was not because I enjoyed having conversations or had fun in social events with them but because I realized how much they were involved with this IIA organization. It would be always a good reason for a person to become a volunteer to get some new experience and recognition in his/her resume. It would be an entire reason when people work for something they believe, fight for what they think it is right, and pursuing continuous collaboration to benefit the group they represent.

I am quite sure that most of the fellows attending this meeting (and those who could not make it) did not expect how much involvement they would have when they decided to be part of their chapter leaders.  The truth is when certain things come to our head and happen to flow to our heart to work on something important, we just cannot simply leave it behind - just like what we do for our chapter, IIA Canada and our profession organization.

What Makes Your Heart Beat These Days?

DSC02693Are you feeling happier than ever?  Perhaps you are achieving something you have aimed to for a long time. Perhaps you are enjoying a relationship you have patiently developed, either professionally or personally. Perhaps you are at a place where your spirit is lifted up. That sort of moments of truth makes everything we do more enjoyable.

At the chapter, we have completed our annual survey. The results made our heart beat! All members who took time to complete survey said overall we were meeting their expectations. There are, nonetheless, some areas that we will have to work harder on. The chapter’s board had a planning session last month and the final work plan is being developed.

The chapter will also send two representatives to the national workshop in Calgary to share best practices and gain insights from other chapter’s leaders, in early June. The objective of this workshop is to provide a series of opportunities for chapter leaders to mingle and share their operational challenges and best practices. I have been to a couple of national workshops and I can say that they were always great experience. There are always good ideas, fun times and more importantly passion for our profession…which particularly made me heart beat!

Do You Remember Me, Your Fan?

IA and ERMLast Friday, Jeff Erdman of Finning International kindly crossed the sea (Strait of Georgia) to speak for us on Trends in ERM. Jeff, we called him a guru of ERM based on his number of years on this subject, shared his insight with the attendees. He specifically shared 5 trends he has seen and provided insightful comments.  Below are select contents for you about those trends.

1. Lack of clarity around the target end state – where the organization wants to be along the ERM Maturity Model. The three key areas include Risk Governance, Risk Management Enablers and Risk Management Processes.

2. Limited or no linkage between ERM and strategy and value creation – many still focus on traditional risk management. No connection to risk appetite. Not considering risk taking as value creation.

3. Major risks…aka Black Swans – the unexpected risk or opportunityRegardless of opportunity or risk, both sets of events can fundamentally destabilize a normal, healthy company.

4. Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) – They are used to link strategy, performance and risk.

5. Risk Management Culture Assessments -  A framework can be used for the assessment. Jeff shared one in the presentation which includes 4 key areas: Organization Philosophy, Relationships, Motivation and Risk Competence.

The event ended with quite a few great questions. A familiar question was asked – what role should Internal Auditor take in ERM? Jeff referred to the Fan that we have seen for a while…   If you don’t remember me, click here to see me. http://bit.ly/17v1of4 [IIA Position Paper]

Note: If you want to get more details on this presentation, our May newsletter will feature the summary of this presentation. Visit our website.


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