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Importance of Social Skills in Internal Audit

Author: Mehmet Kamil Tarhan

Internal Audit is a team game. Therefore, the success of an internal audit depends on the personal characteristics of internal auditors as well as the ability of the internal audit manager to manage the team. An excellent internal auditor should have the following professional attributes: honesty and hard work.

  • Communication (social) skills
  • Professional certifications
  • Continuous self-improvement
  • Keeping up with best practices and developments
  • follower of his work
  • professional skepticism
  • Independence
  • Don’t insist on the truth
  • Membership in professional organizations

In this article, we will touch on soft skills, one of the most critical factors in the professional success of the internal auditor.

What is Social Skill?

Social skills is a colonial term that describes skills related to emotional intelligence (EQ), such as personal characteristics, communication, habits, friendliness, and optimism that determine relationships with others.

Social skills are learned behaviors that enable individuals to achieve positive social results in social environments. Soft skills complement technical skills. Technical skills may only be sufficient if social skills are lacking.

A study conducted by Harvard University concluded that 85% of business life consists of social skills, and 15% consists of technical knowledge and skills.

Technical skills may get you the interview or the job, but your lack of social skills will cost you your job.

Closeness to people and processes and technical issues are among the qualities sought in a good auditor. Thanks to good communication, the trust of the auditee is gained, a sharing environment is created in a shorter time, and effective results are obtained.

Social Skills That an Auditor Must Have

  • Written and verbal communication ability (listening, understanding)
  • Being able to make decisions (looking at the big picture, considering alternatives)
  • Flexibility (being open to learning and change)
  • manage time well
  • leadership abilities
  • problem-solving abilities
  • being a team player
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Being a reasonable observer (Analysis, interpretation, summarization)
  • Being able to manage conflicts (Crisis management)
  • be able to negotiate
  • be accountable
  • Being able to take responsibility.

Factors That Lead the Auditor to Failure (Frequently Made Mistakes)

  • Trying to be a star auditor
  • Acting and talking like you know everything
  • Inadequate or limited communication
  • Not knowing how to listen (not listening to auditees and stakeholders)
  • Not respecting the hierarchy
  • Using findings as threats
  • Focusing on and attacking people, not problems and facts
  • Having angry, accusatory, and emotional correspondence and conversations
  • Having a style of asking closed-ended (*) and threatening questions
  • Being affected positively or negatively by the behavior of the supervisee

(*) A question that can be answered briefly, such as “yes,” “no,” “maybe,” “I don’t know,” and does not require in-depth information/comment from the addressee.

How do you develop social skills?

Here are ways to improve social skills:

  1. Introspecting, being self-aware, trying to know yourself
  2. Being willing to improve oneself, striving
  3. Being able to say “I don’t know” when appropriate.
  4. Getting feedback from reliable sources. (such as what am I doing well, what aspects of myself need to be improved)
  5. Spending time with people who have good social skills
  6. Coaching, consulting
  7. Get help
  8. Attending workshops
  9. Giving lectures, making presentations,
  10. Doing volunteer work and attending courses.

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