Internal Audits & Auditee Games

One part of an internal auditor’s life is the eventual (in some cases constant) contact with an auditee who plays some type of game. The reasons for auditee games are varied, but mostly they occur because the auditee believes (or knows) that the audit will not go well. Despite what we say, and do, most auditees equate a nonconformance with failure of them, or their department. Senior management often exacerbates the problem by placing internal audit performance in manager’s overall performance evaluation.

Even when these conditions are not present, internal audits still take some resources away from the department. If nothing else, the manager must take time from his, or her busy schedule to meet with internal auditors. The end result is that lower and mid-management would really avoid the audit altogether. Many of them resort to actions and activities that inhibit the auditing process. We call these actions “auditee games”. That is, games auditees play to delay, disrupt or even avoid internal audits.

The following are typical examples of auditee games. They are by no means the only games, just a sample of the most common.

  • We’re not ready
  • Key people missing
  • “Houston, we have a problem”
  • Shell game
  • I’ll tell you what I think you want to know