The Illusion of Control
The only thing worse than no control is the illusion of control. When there is no realization that there are problems, then there will no be no solutions and problems will continue. This should be a strong incentive for management personnel to perform pro-active self assessments, prior to audits. One of the worse scenarios is when management is informed by their staff that everything is well controlled, executing effectively with no issues and then they are totally surprised when auditors conclude that there are, in fact, significant exposures. Management can't afford to be misguided by the illusion of control, which is worse than realizing that there is no control. Why fix something that is not broken? Avoiding the illusion of control is essential to having a successful audit. My internal audit education should help both current and future auditees in actually verifying their controls, not just trusting and relying on being told that everything is all right. Avoid surprises.