One of the best ways to improve department performance is to share ideas with companies of like size or industry. A week ago, my team attended a knowledge sharing session jointly hosted by the internal audit departments of The Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, and Nike. We spent three days in Atlanta (one day spent at each of the Atlanta-based corporate headquarters) focused on sharing information about department size and structure as well as the unique aspects of each audit practice. We had guest speakers, including our respective CFOs and subject matter experts, supplemented by department presentations and benchmarking discussions. Formal topics for benchmarking included: 1) Audit Staffing Strategy and Rotational Staffing Models, 2) Internal Audit’s Role in ERM, 3) Data Analytics and Fraud Auditing, and 4) Internal Audit’s Role in FCPA and Anti-corruption Compliance.
In addition to several great days of information sharing and benchmarking, we also learned about the culture and history of each organization through tours of the Delta and Home Depot on-site museums as well as the World of Coca-Cola. Nike shared its history through campus pictures and the latest multi-media information – which were, of course, spectacular. Although the CAEs of each of these companies already had close networking relationships, what I found most beneficial were the relationships developed at the team management level. For example, now each team’s IT audit group has a contact to call to bounce ideas off of and to ask questions.
If your teams have the opportunity to meet with companies in your home cities and can take the time to organize a knowledge sharing session, I highly recommend it. I think I can speak for the group in saying that these sessions served to deepen our admiration of each of the brands represented and of the teams that lead their internal audit practices.
Posted on Apr 11, 2011 by Kiko Harvey
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