4xi Global Remote Site Consulting: Auditing or Advisory, which drives real results?

Peter Roles, Senior Consultant, 4xi Global Remote Site Consulting

I remember when working in the UK, many years ago, and absolutely dreaded the day that the auditor arrived with their checklist and clipboard. They would come to check the accuracy of the inventory or count the petty cash - in both cases a £10 shortfall in either was considered a 'breach of the regulations' but paled into insignificance for the multi-million £ operation and thousands of daily customers I was overseeing.

The auditors were normally accountants looking for problems or non-compliance so they could report it back to the boss more to justify their existence than actually improve the businesses.

"In the bigger scheme of things this meant nothing at all!! They never looked at the standards of operations, service standards, food quality, or customer satisfaction - these non-material issues became more important than what really mattered for the long term success of the business."

I wanted to refine auditing to operational matters. I spent 5 years visiting sites around the world for an international company and we dropped the word 'auditor' from our title and renamed ourselves Operational Advisors. We were focused on standards through the lens of the customer first and foremost and the company in second - this was a refreshing approach that was less about compliance with sometimes unnecessary rules but focusing on the things that really mattered.

We spent most of our time talking to clients and customers about the quality of the services and how we could improve our offering and experience. Of course, compliance with the fundamentals around financials, governance, health and safety remained extremely important but through the lens of materiality our focus was on where we could make the biggest and most important impact.