I work in IT audit and am mentoring newer members of the team. I have more experience than them by about 1.5 years. My team members are too trusting when evaluating the information we receive and don't exercise enough professional judgement in my opinion. For instance they'll:

  • accept screenshots without dates
  • accepts information from third parties without considering source of information
  • obtains evidence from suboptimal sources - provided via email rather than relying on system generated information.

When I previously asked them to be more proactie they did improve in that regard, but what strategies can I use to better improve their skepticism?

  • 2
    "mentoring younger members of the team" - you should probably say 'less experienced members'. These members may indeed happen to be younger, but focusing on the age of your colleagues is not the best.
    – Brandin
    Nov 17, 2016 at 6:58
  • Can you give them examples of times that you (or others) were given faulty information in an audit? Seeing that these things actually happen may give them more reason to be thorough.
    – David K
    Nov 17, 2016 at 13:38
  • I thought an audit should be performed with the assumption that there is someone or multiple people who have something really bad to hide. Like Joe in purchasing has faked invoices for goods that were never received and sent to money to his own bank account. Ask them how they would find that?
    – gnasher729
    Nov 17, 2016 at 21:10

4 Answers 4


When I worked for an audit agency (a gazillion years ago!), we had a QA process that closely examined at the support for audit findings before we published the report. They examined every fact stated in the audit report, checked it back to the source (the auditor had to provide a cross-referenced version of the report that provided the number of the audit work paper that supported the statement) and made sure the source both said what the auditor claimed it said and that it was an acceptable source. Things like this should have been caught by your own processes and sent back to the auditor to fix or remove the finding.

Right now, it appears this is being presented as a "nice to have", it needs to be presented as a "must fix" instead. You should have a list of acceptable/not acceptable sources of information that you can provide to them. You should check their work (even if you don't have formal QA process) and send it back when it doesn't meet the professional standards. You should make sure they have read any published professional standards and company audit policies and that they (and everyone else) read them at least annually.


Run an Audit on the Audit team. Give them the results, and recommendations. This should be an annual event at minimum.

  • 3
    Yes, this is the correct answer in my opinion, and enforce discipline when needed.
    – Kilisi
    Nov 17, 2016 at 8:56
  • Now, who audits the audit of the audit ?
    – ApplePie
    Nov 18, 2016 at 17:55

When I previously asked them to be more proactie they did improve in that regard, but what strategies can I use to better improve their skepticism?

Just asking someone to "be more proactive" is unlikely to be helpful, unless you follow up with a more detailed explanation and reinforce the message.

You could conduct regular training sessions for these new members. We do that regularly for new folks on our teams.

Perhaps one of your sessions should be entitled "Improving your skepticism" or "Trust, but Verify" or something like that. Give them specifics about how to be proactive, what to do and not do, etc.

  • I can confirm the point ust asking someone to "be more proactive" is unlikely to be helpful unless you follow up with a more detailed explanation. I was once with a 10 members team when the manager threw that to us from nowhere in reunion, we just laugh about it right after. (yes we didn't liked him and neither considered him as having any skill in managing).
    – Walfrat
    Nov 18, 2016 at 8:54

A logical first step is to address these issues to your team members directly using practical examples (while avoiding personal attacks). If this has no success, you may have to get creative.

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