A Balancing Act

Monday morning, 5:30 a.m. Survey the house to see what kind of trouble the puppy caused overnight. Last week he ate a loaf of bread and a cherry pie. All clear today. Take dogs out, feed the cat, make sure the kids are up and getting ready for school, husband reading the paper. Okay — we're good to go.

This is my first blog. When Internal Auditor contacted me and asked me to do this, I thought, "What on Earth can I blog about — and who will want to read it?" But then I thought about my crazy work/home life "blend." I've always wondered how other busy auditors and working parents manage that balance — particularly when both parents manage a career and travel. (For example, what auditor can get to a high school baseball game at 3:30 p.m.? Is it really necessary for volleyball games to be played in a different state from the one we live in? Are you kidding me ... I have to be where, when? Doesn't anyone else work? What jobs do y'all have that you can just drop everything and be at your kid's school for a parent/teacher tea at 10 in the morning? And, why don't doctors and dentists ever work on weekends?) 

So I decided to write my blog from the perspective of a day in the life of an internal auditor. I'll leave the technical and controversial topics to others. This will be just for fun. I'm hoping to hear from other auditors on the solutions they've found to managing the dilemmas commonly encountered in our hectic lives.

7:30 a.m. Arrive at office. Get coffee. Plan the week ahead.

  • Review quality assurance review (QAR) self-assessment with direct reports. Discuss with Audit Committee chair and chief financial officer at quarterly lunch meeting later this week. (The QAR is a great way to keep an open dialogue with your audit committee. We complete our review annually and include a formal report. This can be a great training tool for anyone new to your department.)
  • Issue department's balanced scorecard for April, paying close attention to team utilization percentages and reporting cycle. More about balanced scorecards in a later blog.
  • Prepare for audit planning meetings next week in Europe. PowerPoint decks need to be completed. I can't imagine how we communicated without PowerPoint.
  • Issue audit reports. Several can go out this week.
  • E-mails, reading, research.

Okay — so that's it for the week (maybe). Hoping the volcano with the really long name doesn't interfere with our travel plans. Most of my team is in the field this week. Three team members were on a safari over the weekend before the start of their audit. How cool is that?

Need to stop now. I have a lot to do this week.

Posted on May 10, 2010 by Kiko Harvey

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  1. Kiko, welcome to the wacky blogosphere. Perhaps you should introduce yourself to those who don't know you. Your readers are in for a treat - and I will be one.

    Best, Norman

  1. Hi Kiko, a warm welcome from the IIA Sacramento Chapter LinkedIn Group.  I loved your first blog and have shared it with our group.  We have quite a few working mom's in the Sacramento Chapter who will relate to the juggling you have described above.  Thanks for all you do!

  1. Kiko,

    Great first blog.  Yes, we need some more information on your background.  I know you are at Delta, but some context regarding world travel and how you deal with work being completed in so many time zones would be interesting. 

    Your good freind,


  1. Kiko,

    Wonderful begining, your blog will be an inspiration to many of us.

  1. Hi Kiko,

    Welcome. I have enjoyed reading your blog, it is nice to know how others joggle everything going in their busy world. I am interested to know more about your backgorund and interests as well. I look forward to many more beautiful write-ups.


    Roxane (San Antonio Chapter)


  1. Kiko,

    I'd like to join the others in welcoming you to the world of blogging.  You'll find it to be "second nature" and ongoing once you get the blogging application on your iPhone or Blackberry, if you've not already done it.  I'm now on the IIA Detroit Chapter Board and will look forward to sharing your thoughts with them as well.


  1. Hey Kiko,

    Welcome from the Twin Cities Chapter.  Thanks for your down-to-earth perspective.  It is amazing how juggling has become so natural to us.  Between our superstar work responsibilities and rock-star children schedules, somehow it all gets done!

    I try to put down one or two of the pins every now and then or else I begin to feel more like a clown!  Look forward to hearing more from you.

  1. Kiko,

    Loved your blog.  Great to know that you're not alone out there in the world of internal audit. I'm assuming you're in Atlanta, so we have the Atlanta traffic issue in common.  Don't you just love ATL's rush hour (or rush hours..) 

    Also, a safari before an audit...way cool.  I need to do a better job planning my audit trips.

    Looking forward to your next blog.    Sheryl

  1. Hi, I look forward to your future blog entries.


  1. I came across your blog info in the latest issue of the Internal Auditor magazine.  As a motiviated audit professional, I look forward to hearing and learning from your challenges in the field and blending it all with your family life.  We also are challenged by our son's sports schedule - it helped recently, that he acquired his drivers license.  We still make all of his games but he can drive home from practices.  It's the re-scheduled games (due to weather) that throw our schedules for a loop.  Luckily, we both work for flexible employers.  Thanks again for sharing your life.

  1. Kiko:

    I would also be interested in learning how you succeeded up the audit ladder; if you had a mentor; what you learned the most at each position; what was most successful, what keeps you motivated at your current level, etc.  And also, if you found in order to advance, that you had to seek positions at different organizations.  I began my career as a management analyst with my current employer and have earned an MBA and certifications as an internal auditor and fraud examiner over the past five years (I have been with my current employer almost 9 years).  I'm not sure if I'm being seen in light of what I have accomplished. I would appreciate your insights.  Thanks again -



  1. Hi Sharen,

    To answer your question, I've had many mentors over my career - but most were outside of my work world. You've given me a lot to think about for future blogs.  I'll definitely write one on the value of mentors.

    Regarding changing organizations to advance... I don't know that that's necessary.  My job changes typically took place after a long period of time at my employers, and were due to my need to continually challenge myself to learn new things. 

    The best advice I can give you is to love what you do.  If you don't absolutely, unequivocably, love your job - then it's not the right job for you.  And, make sure you showcase your accomplishments to your employer in a way that makes the most sense to them. I'm not sure the certifications and degrees will be as impressive as demonstrating how these activities have helped you be a more effective performer.  Don't be a pest, but make sure you have the discussions about what you think you are capable of doing and get leadership to give you some feedback about how they view your potential.  As I'm sure you do already, don't wait to be invited to work on a project or new assignment - volunteer. 

    Hope that helps!


  1. Kiko:

    Great points - I appreciate your response and advice! 



  1. I recommend bmioecng a member of the NSIAP (if you are not) as the articles in their Newsline address questions of this nature. Here is an excerpt from The Delicate Art of Making Audit Appointments by Telephone .Having made all of the appointment making mistakes over the years, I can now say that there is a great deal of art to doing it well. By thinking of what has worked and by listening to the customers I have learned that the appointment is not mine to make, it is theirs. Let’s face it. We are largely at the customer’s mercy. We all know that according to the policy conditions, near the back of the policy, there is a phrase giving us permission to audit all the records pertinent to the determination of the premium. We also know that if the insured does not “cooperate” with the audit process, they can face cancellation of their coverage or an estimated audit. At the same time don’t we just want to complete the audit without having to “strong arm” our customer? Can your skills help avoid the misunderstandings and extra work that goes along with estimating audits?

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