Successful, happy audits: Dealing with difficult auditees

Over the course of their career, an internal auditor will eventually encounter a difficult auditee. They may be stubborn, angry, apathetic, or withdrawn. Oftentimes, emotions overrule logic. As auditors are looking for compliance and nonconformities and if they find the latter, they may trigger their auditee’s ego. In these instances, emotional intelligence can help diffuse any swollen egos.

Humans want to believe they are smart, eloquent, flawless creatures. When a mistake is made, a shortcut is taken, or a glaring error is discovered, egos make it hard to accept the truth. Often, excuses and explanations bubble to the surface to protect the ego (and sometimes the integrity of the company). This behaviour is rooted in childhood. When humans are younger, they are taught they should avoid making mistakes as much as possible. But as they grow older, they learn the value of teachable moments brought on by mistakes. However, auditees sometimes don’t see things that way. There are a few things auditors can do to mitigate difficult interactions during an audit.

In a recently published article, Salman Raza concludes that an appreciation for the human side of auditing is key and provides some tips and tricks to ensure that even difficult audits are successful.


These are the upcoming dates for our Annual General Meetings:

Thursday, 21 March 2024
Thursday, 20 March 2025