Should you use Tiger Teams in your Audit function?

A Tiger Team is a team of highly paid experts typically sent in to solve impossible to solve point problems. The problem with the concept in execution is that these teams are often made up of folks with great skills but even greater egos who parachute into a company, act like they already know everything, and then provide advice that may have little to do with the problem or that the company either can’t or shouldn’t follow. It wasn’t that the idea didn’t have merit, it worked rather well for the space program, it was the execution that sucked. You needed people who understood what the company was capable of and knew that if their advice didn’t actually work they’d be held accountable.

Internal Audit, if properly staffed and motivated, can become a permanent Tiger Team and we proved this could work years ago at ROLM. Done right there isn’t another organization in the firm that knows how that company actually works, but often they fall into two traps. First they simply become a compliance organization that focuses only on assuring rules and polies regardless of how stupid those policies may be, second they will often learn over time that it is far better for their financial well-being and their careers if they don’t look that hard at anything and simply look busy, that way they don’t piss off powerful executives who will make their careers hell now or far later.

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