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An Interview with Paul Day - Leading Audit #auditiscool

5/03/2018 by Andy Winterburgh

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Paul Day is Chief Internal Auditor at Lloyds Banking Group.  He has specialised in internal and external audit roles across financial services for over 20 years. 

Prior to joining Lloyds, Paul led the Deloitte UK Financial Services Internal Audit practice after spending 10 years in various senior leadership roles across Barclays Internal Audit. 

Andy asked Paul some questions about his career to date and why he thinks #auditiscool

Hello Paul and welcome to your Leading Audit interview, it's great to have you involved.

Q: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB AND WHAT IS THE WORST JOB YOU'VE EVER DONE?

My first job was in the Arthur Andersen financial consulting business as a gap year intern. As well as learning about financial consulting, I learned the value of a great spreadsheet. I don’t think I have had a ‘worst’ job although it is fair to say that all jobs have some aspects that are less great than others!

Q: WAS INTERNAL AUDIT (IA) YOUR FIRST CAREER CHOICE AND WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE?

No, my first career choice was external audit, and related advisory work.  Over some years I specialised in advisory projects helping clients improve their process, risk, control, understanding and environment. This naturally led to a career in internal audit. 

Q: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN IA? 

When I joined Barclays Internal Audit in 2003 I expected to stay in internal audit for a few years, and then move into another part of the business. Over time I realised that internal audit is an amazingly interesting role, and decided to focus on internal audit as a career.  

Q: WHAT'S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE?

A typical day includes many meetings and committees.  I try to make time to focus on colleagues and consider how I, and the Internal Audit function, can add value for the Audit Committee and Executives. The aspects of my day that I enjoy most are when I spend time across the business and regularly review whether we are providing the right audit coverage, build on successes and look at what more Internal Audit can do to support and enhance the work already being done.

Q: WHY DO YOU THINK AUDIT IS COOL?

Audit is cool because it is just so incredibly interesting with a broad view across the organization and a huge variety of areas to look at.

Q: WHO OR WHAT HAS HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT OR YOUR CAREER?

There have been many inspirational leaders over the years.  If I had to highlight one, I’d call out Mark Carawan for introducing me to the world of internal audit at Barclays and for consistently pushing me outside my natural comfort zone.  And of course, a childhood environment that encouraged asking questions led to my natural curiously about how things work and how to make them better.

Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO INTERNAL AUDITORS, AT DIFFERENT LEVELS, ON DEVELOPING THEIR CAREERS? 

To Directors my advice would be to ensure they are collecting a broad range of experiences from general leadership and management responsibilities to some detailed specialist skills. 

For VP’s I would say, try to be comfortable pushing yourself outside your comfort zone (I get the irony there…).  In my experience, that is when I have learnt the most about my own capabilities, such as where my strengths lie and also aspects where I’ve needed to focus more on. 

Finally to AVP’s my advice is to develop and hone your interpersonal skills as well as technical skills. The need to be able to engage and communicate with stakeholders is as important as understanding their specialist business area.

Q: WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?

Nelson Mandela, for staying focused on a peaceful outcome and doing the right thing, despite the many challenges.

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

I consider my strengths to be prioritising and focusing on what matters most, maintaining clarity in communications, and working collaboratively as part of a team. 

In regards to weaknesses, I have been known to find it hard to resist diving into the detail…!

Q: WHAT ARE THE COMMON QUALITIES THAT THE BEST INTERNAL AUDITORS SHARE?

The best internal auditors have great technical skills, fantastic people skills, and manage stakeholder relationships brilliantly.

Q: WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Working as part of the Lloyds Banking Group Internal Audit leadership team and helping to build a new future as a leading Internal Audit Function.

Q: WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT CHAMPIONING INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY WITHIN THE INTERNAL AUDITING PROFESSION IS SO IMPORTANT?

Diversity in our teams allows for diversity of thinking opening us up to the broadest possible range of issues and solutions, stopping us from becoming stale and repetitive, and preventing groupthink.

Q: WHERE DO YOU SEE THE PROFESSION IN 10 YEARS' TIME?

Like all industries, we are in a period of significant change. I see the profession having fewer, more efficient people, working in smarter ways. Coupled with an increasingly digitalised and data driven industry, it will be imperative that Internal Audit can work flexibly and agilely and remain relevant to evolving challenges. 

Q: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE KEY CHALLENGES FOR INTERNAL AUDITORS IN 2018?

I think it will be critical that internal auditors stay relevant as the technology and regulatory environment changes.  Financial services are evolving fast and Internal Auditors will need to move with the evolution to stay relevant in this world of technological and regulatory change including Brexit, fintech, big data, to name a few.

Q: FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?

Spend time with my family (and trying to do more exercise!)

Thanks Paul, it's been great talking to you.

 

Hybridge is proud to support Sally Clark in her mission as Deputy President of the CIIA to spread the message that #auditiscool. 

If you’d like to talk to us about how Internal Audit functions are ensuring they hire and retain top talent, or if you’re an Internal Audit professional and you’d like to work with a recruiter who understands the market, is well connected and will take time to find the right opportunity for you, get in touch with Hybridge today. 

Follow us on LinkedIn for news of the next of our Leading Audit Interview Series and up to date insights on Financial Services Internal Audit recruitment.