September 19, 2021

How Internal Controls Will Keep You Safe From Velociraptors

Like any normal kid growing up in the early nineties, I harbored an unnatural obsession with Jeff Goldblum’s body (of work), including perhaps Goldblum’s finest moment (aside from his unquestionably riveting performance in Law & Order) as Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park. Yeah. I’d seen the movie and read the book about a thousand times, collected all the dinosaur action figures, and even staged a small scale dinosaur invasion of Detroit using dino figurines and a pile of burning tires.

Like Jeff Goldblum’s esteemed character, I, too, got really into statistics, fractal theory, and – uh, the theory of chaos. Naturally I took those talents to become not a math professor, but rather an auditor. Hey, PhD programs ain’t cheap and someone has to do the ticking and tying.

When I saw the preview for Jurassic World (coming to a theater near you in June 2015, you guys!), I immediately started prepping for the film debut, which meant reading Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Lost World, obviously.

Halfway through Jurassic Park, though, I realized that becoming an auditor changed my entire perspective on this fine film.

The story starts out well enough –- a rich guy builds an amusement park on a tropical island filled with DNA spawned dinosaurs. Cool, right? Things go horribly wrong when one man –- played by Newman from Seinfeld -– builds, maintains, AND controls the security system for the park. He gets greedy and decides to kidnap some dinosaur embryos to hand off to a competitor. Halfway through the story, Newman cuts power to the park’s entire security system –- which includes all the doors of the laboratory and also INCLUDES THE ELECTRIC FENCES THAT CONTAIN THE VELOCIRAPTORS. If you know anything about dinosaurs, you know that velociraptors are THE WORST. To put it in layman’s terms, they’re the Grant Thornton of accounting –- nobody takes them seriously at first (or at all), but boy –- THEY VICIOUS.

All that aside, velociraptors will cut you, and after Newman overrides the security system, steals the embryos, and cuts the power, these VELOCIRAPTORS slip the cage and get loose in the park.

As a child, this evil Jurassic twist terrified me. OMG –- VELOCIRAPTORS.

As an auditor, I ask myself, “Why weren’t controls in place that could prevent one man from both implementing the computer security system and also overriding it?” AND OMG VELOCIRAPTORS!!!

Answer? Crichton wrote Jurassic Park before Sarbanes-Oxley. If controls were in place, and hell, if those cheap Jurassic clowns (John Hammond) had bothered to hire a couple of auditors to come in and assess the controls, we could have told them, “Hey guys – you might want to put the security for the electric fences and the dinosaur egg room on separate power grids, and uh -– by the way, that Newman character is highly suspect.”

Unfortunately, the whole story, like Jeff Goldblum’s career, happened before the age of SOX. No internal controls. No internal control assessment. No auditors crawling around populating internal control templates and choking down Jimmy John’s Gargantuans™ (nothing sexual).

Basically, the whole story happens because Newman fucked with internal controls, or the lack thereof. And what happens when you fuck with internal controls and no auditors are around to catch it? VELOCIRAPTORS.

If you know anything about Detroit, you know that the city has no internal controls. (‘Sup, Kwame?) Ergo, dinosaurs could plausibly destroy the city in a hail of pterodactyl fire and velociraptor tails as detailed in my SECOND favorite book of all time, Dinosaurs Destroy Detroit. Lesson? Thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley, we don't have to fight off vicious packs of blood-thirsty velociraptors.
 

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