In part one of a pair of Tom Selling posts about professional skepticism, he tries to get to the essence of what the ol’ cliche of the auditing world means:
Skepticism is to have doubt as to the truth of something. But how much doubt?
The PCAOB’s standards state that the auditor should be “assuming neither honesty or dishonesty.” Perhaps this means that the auditor should behave as if each statement from management is being received from the first time from a person that they don’t know at all. But, even if I am correct, it seems like an impossible standard to hew to given human nature and the economic constraints that auditors operate under.
Perhaps, that is where “professional” comes into play. In all walks of life, professionalism is defined as conforming to standards of behavior that are a cut above non-professionals.
I follow until he gets to the standard of “professional.” Even if professionals are held to higher standards, they make mistakes all the time. More importantly, human professionals can still be fooled or manipulated by people. There’s nothing in the auditing curriculum that covers how to avoid being manipulated, is there? The human element of auditing may be the most important and yet, I don’t recall ever completing any psychological profiles for the humans I came in contact with at the clients I examined.
I guess this could be one area of auditing that the robots can’t take away from you: reading the human. While robots are doing all the boring testwork, auditors just have to determine whether their clients are trustworthy, fibbers, manipulators, or pathological liars. I think all the psychology majors will be excited to have jobs in the not-so-distant future.
Here’s something I do: If you’re in the process of interviewing with us, I’ll text you about something at 9 p.m. or 11 a.m. on a Sunday just to see how fast you’ll respond.
For Nardini, the right response time is three hours, explaining that “Other people don’t have to be working all the time, but I want people who are also always thinking.” And I kinda have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, texting anyone about work-related matters on the weekend is contemptible, but if you’re trying to hire someone maybe this helps test their commitment? Once you know someone’s thinking all the time, then you can leave them alone on a Sunday at 11 am or 9 pm. Of course, by responding to the Sunday@9pm text, you’ve just obliterated the boundaries of your weekend and your work, and that can’t be good.
Why am I even trying to rationalize this? Don’t text people about work on the weekend, you monsters.
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Previously, on Going Concern…
I wrote about Citrin Cooperman putting up with Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli.
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