A day in the life: Working in Internal Audit

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James is an Audit Manager within our Internal Audit community.

My job involves being investigative by nature and providing independent assurance that our processes are working well to manage IT and Cyber related risk. The work is challenging, but rewarding because each audit is unique and gives me the chance to explore how different areas of the business operate.

I started my Nationwide career in 2003, following 6 years in the IT industry. It was apparent from day one that I was working for an organisation where mutuality is important. Where every decision made, product created and service introduced is for the benefit of our 15 million members.

My first role involved working with IT technicians before making a career change into project management, helping to deliver technology solutions for the Society. Then, almost three years ago, I made another career change, moving across to Nationwide’s Audit community and haven’t looked back! I’ve been able to use my experience in IT and project management to benefit the audit team, whilst learning a whole new discipline of audit, risk and control.

My day starts between 5:30 and 6:00am. I’m the first awake in our house, and make the most of this quiet period to sit with a cup of tea and read, write stuff down, even play my guitar (very quietly!) as i'm in a band I need the practice. I then have the task of getting the household up and running for the day. My wife is a full-time teacher, and cannot take time off easily outside of school holidays. Nationwide really advocates flexible working which means that I can work from home if necessary, so I’m not worried when domestic life brings the unexpected!

No two days are the same at any point in time I’m either working on my current audit, following up on actions from previous audits, or working with team members to maintain the IT audit plan throughout the year.

There’s a phrase often used about work life and job satisfaction, “what gets you out of bed”? In other words, what motivates you about your job or work life? I’m happy to say that in my role as an IT audit manager there are plenty of reasons why I’m motivated to come in to work. The role itself presents great variety, visibility and learning opportunities, not just in auditing, but also specialist areas like IT and cyber-security.

My best day at work so far was when I had to map out my thoughts about an audit, so that I could plan the team’s approach to testing. I went into a room, and started drawing a visual representation of the audit on a whiteboard, using different colours. I then invited my team into the room to discuss the audit approach, and re-produced the diagram in an online format. Finding creative ways to present information to a wide audience is one of the things I love most about auditing.

The most challenging part of my job is getting the balance between attention to detail and seeing the bigger picture. Auditing sometimes requires a lot of reading and concentration, but you also need to make sure that you spend time with colleagues and business representatives, so time management is really important.

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