Today at work my manager sent me an email requesting me to do an review on the adequacy of the internal controls surrounding a newly implemented application used by other business units within the company. I am unfamiliar with the technology used by this application, having been my first time exposed to it. I do not believe understand a full understanding is practical with the time constraints I was given.

I work in IT Audit and industry / professional guidelines - proficiency - 1006.2 and Due care - 1005.1- states that only with adequate knowledge can I accept an assignment.

I have always been know to be a dependable member of the team willing to go beyond expectations. I have been commended for my initiative on several occasions in the short time I have been with my current employer.

How can I decline this assignment without been seen negatively / seeming apathetic to growth?

  • Can't you just say you have no idea how to do that? – Kilisi Mar 10 '16 at 11:06

Short answer: Tell your boss exactly what you've said here.

If you would contravene professional guidelines by taking the task, then that's what you need to make clear.

Boss, I honestly don't feel that I can take this role. The professional guidelines for IT Audit (insert reference here) strongly suggests that for reasons of due care, only people with adequate knowledge can do task X. I'm sorry, but perhaps we can bring in a consultant who has the relevant experience and knowledge for this task?

It's as up front and honest as you can be, and suggest an alternative.

[Edit - thanks @keshlam!]

There is the possibility that your boss is wanting you to obtain this particular skill. If so, then you will need to be up front about the need to invest time and education before you can perform the task.

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    Consider that your boss may have given you the assignment because if would be good for you to learn this skill. In that case the answer may be that you need to invest time in education before you can step into the role, or that you should understudy an expert initially... But beware of saying "I can't"; it's better to say " I don't think I could be ready to do that fast enough; I would need..." And to propose alternatives. – keshlam Mar 10 '16 at 0:46
  • @keshlam Good advice! Do you mind if I include the context of your comment in my answer? – Jane S Mar 10 '16 at 1:25
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    By all means, @JaneS. Glad to help... – keshlam Mar 10 '16 at 4:02
  • @keshlam Thanks! I decided to add it earlier, but of course I credited where it's due :) – Jane S Mar 10 '16 at 4:04
  • What has assessing internal controls got to do with the underlying technology? – TheMathemagician Mar 10 '16 at 11:01

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