Audit Advantage: Resilience, Rebooted

Audit Advantage: Resilience, Rebooted


What does resilience mean to an auditor?

So much, that not too long ago we compiled for you, a complete 10 part series, The Resilient Auditor!  We, at, were of course ahead of the curve; if there was ever a time to call on this precious commodity, here we are, right now at the start of 2017, on the cusp of a strange new world as we usher in a whole new era of unpredictables, of precarious political change and murky economic horizons, every which way we look.

As I write this in towards the end of the old year, we are stealing ourselves for the repercussions of at least two bolts from the blue – Brexit and Brexit squared (aka President elect Trump).  Who would have predicted such unlikely equations, even one year ago?  But even more chilling is the thought that when you read this, who knows how many more unforeseen, mysterious and game-changing events might have occurred – Brexit to the power of n?

But whether you read this following the extraordinary year that was 2016 or at the turn of the 2020s, one thing is for certain: uncertainty is the new uncertainty.  The milieu of our living and working selves is characterised by the ubiquitous VUCA.

What in the world is VUCA?  

Read more in previous articles, but in a nutshell, by VUCA we refer to the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity that permeates every aspect of our lives on the twenty first century macro and micro stage.  And the antidote to VUCA? Or rather the essential elixir – to survive and to thrive, is that precious commodity resilience.  Personal, professional, innate and learnt, resilience is the all-pervading competence that we must continue to foster – think of it as the core of all your CPD learning and development.

So let’s remind ourselves what it takes to be a Resilient Auditor.

Step 1 How resilient actually are you? To understand your baseline, acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and carry out your own self audit, start with the Robertson Cooper i-resilience diagnostic.  This is a free online questionnaire which provides a personalised action plan for you to work through.

Step 2 Purpose: If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you've got there?  It’s so, so tempting to keep your head down, just get on with it, taking action because this is the way you’ve always done it.  But finding and articulating your purpose, not only motivates you onwards but also ensures your efforts are taking you in the right direction and sustains you in the face of (inevitable) setback. 

Step 3 Let's Get Physical.  Mental resilience is underpinned by physical health.  Eating for nourishment, hydration, regular exercise and proper sleep hygiene are all essential for a healthy body and good psychological health which is a big contributor to your resilience.   

Step 4 In Getting ready for the busy season... at work, rest and play we emphasised the prevalence of the flight or fight response (at work and at home) and helped you navigate the unavoidable pressures by working through your perceptions.

Step 5 A Happy Auditor.  Do you know what makes you happy?  If you don’t, then how can you influence your happiness quotient?  You’ll never be able to  spend all your hours in the pursuit of happiness but with right job, getting to spending some time with people who matter and a ‘growth mindset’ you can have real influence over satisfaction levels.

Step 6 Stress: the elephant in the room.  You won’t always find stress as a by-product of an auditing role, but more often than not, auditing does require working under pressure. Do you know the difference between the two and how can you anticipate when ongoing pressure is tipping over into real stress?

Step 7 Confidence.  Self confidence is an integral building block, important in virtually every aspect of our lives and often its significance is only apparent by its absence.  Lack of confidence can hold you back from taking risks, asserting yourself and taking advantage of opportunities.  This in turn protects you from feeling ‘failure’ – an essential element of building and maintaining resilience – the belief that you can recover!

Step 8 Finding the fun.  Did you know that humour was the final secret ingredient of resilience? Humour gives us the opportunity to make light of real life and as such can be a valuable every day coping mechanism.  Think beneficial coping as opposed to those pesky maladaptive ones (alcohol, smoking, junk food – get the picture?)

Step 9 Support is Strength.  Humans are social animals and as such are hardwired to seek company, build relationships and work in teams.  We need ongoing support for our mental well-being, to sustain our resilience at all times, not just when the going gets tough.  But all support is not equal; check out Support is Strength to understand the different types of support and when you might need them.

Step 10 Staying the Course.  Resilience is about persevering; it requires determination, persistence and resolution to stay the course.  But it’s more than just coping; true resilience allows us to thrive and grow, as opposed to survive and endure.  Are you flourishing or simply subsisting?  If it feels more like the latter then its time to work your way through the full version of our Resilient Auditor programme!

Excuse the cliché but, the only constant really is change. Our twenty first century VUCA world stage is a stage where there is no place for the complacent.  To survive is essential to thrive and the opportunity to thrive is well within your grasp, as a Resilient Auditor!

Which topic would you like to read about next month? Look over the list of topics in the original Audit Advantage article here and let us know your choice for the next topic we should cover.

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