Monday, Monday

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March 5 - Monday, Monday.

I was somewhat surprised to receive a complaint from the auditors about the treatment of their staff member today. They have said he was bullied in the course of his duties and the auditor wants us to justify our treatment of him.

Heavens above! The guy drove us to distraction; a manager had to come and dig him out of a hole of his own making and now we're being accused of bullying him in the course of his employment.

I felt like sending the very rude response to them, with a notice of intent to appoint new auditors by return, but long experience has taught me just how unwise this can be. So I invited AM in for a coffee and we agreed my PA should take statements from the three main people involved.

But candidly, I am not amused. Keep your staff disputes in house, I say. Especially when we have every reason in my opinion to think ourselves the aggrieved party.

About The CEO


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06th Mar 2012 09:39


Is your real name Gordon Ramsay?

That was a joke, but I would do the same as the auditor if a member of my staff were bullied by a client/customer. I certainly wouldn't keep it 'in-house' and I wouldn't consider this complaint to be a staff dispute.

How else can the truth be uncovered unless people discuss it? Either way, the auditor will want to know what really happened, ie. was this person bullied, or has he invented the bullying as a means of diluting your complaint against him?

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By Flash Gordon
06th Mar 2012 11:07

Staff dispute or bullying?

If it is simply a case of the person inventing the bullying then sure it's a pain in the proverbial. But if there has actually been bullying going on then as Shirley says it should not be kept in-house. If one of your staff was bullied by one of your customers while out on a job would you just let your customer off the hook?

At the end of the day I'm sure a lot of us who've been in industry at some point have experienced muppet auditors. And might even have been muppets ourselves. But however annoying, irritating and PITA they are you still smile at them (through clenched teeth), explain for the 20th time why they're wrong and suck it up. Then you talk to the audit manager or partner and politely request a different numpty the next time.

He didn't think you were doing it right and challenged you, that's what he's paid for. You disagreed and said so. It got sorted. You don't exactly have a great history of treating people nicely so I'm guessing that you probably gave him short shrift and treated him in a less than appropriate way. I could be wrong. But his employers are doing the right thing and good on them for supporting their staff. You never know, they might just decide they don't want YOU as a client next year!

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By stevie
06th Mar 2012 19:50

Was the auditor's point valid?

Did he find that van stock bore no resemblance to book stock? I often used to find this to be the case but it "was not material".

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06th Mar 2012 22:36

Consider both sides

I have a very high regard for the CEO's judgement and humanity but I am somewhat uncomfortable about these events.  It would be a brave or foolhardy partner who would challenge a client about an issue where the client was upset.  They won't have done this lightly.  There has to be a high risk of receiving "notice of intent to appoint new auditors" and yet they have gone ahead and complained, thus supporting one of the most junior people in their organisation.  I am impressed by their integrity and loyalty.  

Many auditors will have had experience of clients who become aggressive or otherwise resistant because they have something to hide.  I recall some paragraph from my auditing days (many years ago) that said that when an auditor is put on notice about a discrepancy, it is his duty to probe it to the bottom.  It seem to me that the unfortunate junior may have been doing just that.  He obviously was not clued in on the whiter than white past history of the CEO's team but still.  

Auditors have a job to do and I think that anyone who has trained in auditing will understand that trainees are sometimes both arrogant and stupid, particularly when they are wrong.  

With a certain reluctance, I say that the CEO may have to accept that his people (why were so many involved?) over-stepped the mark and may have to apologise.  At least he will have to pick up the phone and talk to the audit partner, assuming, of course, that he has calmed down as intended - it is almost a week ago now.

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07th Mar 2012 07:06


I know we are only seeing a summary and you can't go into detail without revealing a whole lot more about yourself... The way you have written this up, you are coming across as a bit mob-handed in your handling of the whole situation. But maybe that is just down to the limitations in the format. 

Its not clear that this guy wasn't just doing his job. He had a query. He followed up. He would be negligent if he failed to do so. Perhaps he could have done so more sensitively. Perhaps he should have considered materiality. I have myself been audited by idiots.  But even so, judging by the way you have written it up, perhaps you are being too sensitive.

There have been some serious audit failures in the past where auditors unquestioningly accepted that because something was ok in previous years it must be ok in the current year too - when in fact it always was wrong and the audit team just missed it in previous years. There have also been serious failures where auditors found something but then backed down under pressure from management, It isn't unknown for a previously ethical client to buckle under financial pressure (e.g. the current slowdown) and start playing games. And your response so far, would be consistent with an attempt to hide wrongdoing in any of these three cases.

I appreciate that you would not allow it to be wrong and would take action if you thought there was something wrong in your inventory. But your auditor would be wrong to trust in that without corroborative evidence. He's not supposed to just accept it on your say so or just because it always been accepted before.



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By k743snx
07th Mar 2012 22:52

Monday, Monday

From the limited infomation given, it looks like there is fault on both sides.

I trust the fellow hasn't gone complaining to his boss about "bullying" just because someone at the CEO's company got exasperated and raised their voice? I don't regard that as bullying, but perhaps in this PC world, I'm behind the times. To what extent did the auditor stand his ground? Without knowing that, judgement is difficult.


By the way, I note that an earlier post, the word "muppet" has been used (more than once). I may be laying myself open to criticism by saying so, but I don't think the word has any place in a professional forum - we're not discussing celebrities or football.


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By Flash Gordon
08th Mar 2012 10:42


'An incompetent or foolish person' according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th Edition, revised). If it's good enough for them it's good enough for me to use in a professional but not rigid forum to describe an auditor who appears to their client to be incompetent or foolish.

If I was discussing football I'd be using the words 'overpaid', 'brainless' or 'lacking in talent'. Celebrities would, well they're a whole different set of adjectives....

But to return to the CEO, we really need more information to fully judge. And I doubt we'll receive it.

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By k743snx
to stratty
08th Mar 2012 23:15


Flash Gordon.


We'll have to agree to differ on this. However, I'm intrigued that it's entered the language as a term of abuse, yet if anyone contrbuting to this board had invented the real Muppets....well, they'd not be scratching a living in accountancy.

Agree with your last line, incidentally. We've only heard one side of the story.........

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09th Mar 2012 11:26

lol @k743snx ... where were you a while ago?

I have lost count of the times I have been called a muppet on AWeb ;)

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13th Mar 2012 07:23

So? What happened?

We are now a week later... What happened on this issue?

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