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The Way of Wisdom

Once there was a young boy in grammar school who was totally out of control. His parents tried everything they could but were unable to enforce any rules in his life. As time progressed, he only got worse not better. As a last straw, the parents sent him to a religious academy, one known for its discipline and application of life principles.

On his first trip home after three weeks at the school the boy appeared to be more calm than ever. The father figured the school must be working as desired so he asked the young boy to tell him about the school and his studies. The young boy replied, "Yeah, they are pretty tough there, plus we study a lot of really good stories."

"Oh, good," the father replied, "can you tell me about one of them."

"Sure," the boy answered, "we studied a real cool story about a man named Moses."

"Great!" exclaimed the father. "Tell me everything you learned about Moses," hoping his son had gained a good dose of wisdom studying such a powerful historical figure.

"Well" the boy began, "Moses was a great general who was leading a bunch of civilians across a desert, being chased by an enemy army. He ended up at a large river with the army catching up to him. So, like any good general, he called in the Sea Bees who built a pontoon bridge across the river, then he quickly led the people to the other side. Just before the enemy arrived, he radioed a submarine to come and blow up the bridge, and at the same time ordered an air strike to wipe out the enemy troupes. The enemy army was destroyed, and all of the civilians were safe and sound on the other side of the river. All was well!"

There was a long silence between the two, then the father finally spoke up, "Son, do you really want me to believe that story?"

"Dad," the boy quickly replied with a scowl on his face, "you should have seen what they had in that book back at school!!"

Such is the way of wisdom.

An Age Old Profession

Known to many as "The Father of Modern Internal Auditing", Lawrence B. Sawyer was an inspiration to scores during his life time. His perspectives on auditing and those who serve in the profession have influenced the careers of countless men and women for over four decades.

In many of his presentations and his informal conversations, Mr. Sawyer talked about auditing having existed from antiquity, calling auditors the age old eyes and ears of management. He often cited that in his research he found records of tablets and scrolls that contained what appeared to be what we call 'tick marks,' thus dating the art of auditing to the earliest recorded history. He contended that at one time, auditors were empowered to order immediate action for deviations, even the authority to have an auditee executed. "A power I would like to have had on an assignment or two," he would say with his skilled humor and sarcasm.

Based on this research, in many of his presentations Larry referred to auditing as "the second oldest profession in the world," getting a good laugh from the audience as he grinned that Larry Sawyer grin. Offstage, and when his beloved wife Esther was not around, Larry would smile and say with a hearty laugh, "Sometimes it's hard to separate the basic tenants of the oldest profession from those of the second oldest know what that makes us!" All those chatting with him knew exactly what he was alluding to.

In my video entitled The PMIA - A Time Tested Masterpiece, I recount visiting with Mr. Sawyer in his home and discussing the impact that the new edition his landmark book The Practice of Modern Internal Auditing (PMIA) was having on new auditors during that time frame (early 1980's). He was passionate that the PMIA book, his other writings and presentations contained what he called "the cumulative, timeless wisdom of the art of auditing."

In this vein, the Audit Wisdom web site has been created to honor and preserve the wisdom that Mr. Sawyer and others through the decades have 'preached' on a routine basis. In addition, the site will include contemporary updates and evolutions of the wisdom supporting the grand art of auditing...and the practitioners of the second oldest profession in the world!

Sawyer's video of Hubbard's Description of the Typical Auditor

Michael L. Piazza
Director and Producer

Audit Wisdom