It's not what you know but how you present it and how quickly

I was in my 3rdyear at Deloitte, and my first few months in their Paris office, when I had my worst ever “big 4 moments”. If you’ve been in a Big 4 audit firm you will know what I mean!

Since I’m English, the French liked to give me all the crappy small French companies to audit. The ones a few hours of traffic away in some industrial estate. So anyway, I did my report this one time. Obviously writing it in French. And I handed it to my Director at 11 PM as you do. And my director forwarded it straight to the Audit partner.

The next evening, at 8 PM, we were summoned into the audit partner’s office. 20 auditors from his team were sitting in a circle… It was a big office. I was opposite the partner’s desk. The partner picked up my report that he had printed out and threw it across the room at me in rage. The auditor’s from his team in the circle started to giggle. And that’s how it went on for the next two hours.

Basically, my report had quite a few French mistakes in it because I couldn’t write French… but apart from that, it also had a lot of data analysis that didn’t really get to what that audit partner wanted to see.

And I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow show those numbers in real-time? Switch graphs from view by the supplier to view by month, filter out the raw materials. Filter out the automated transactions.

Rather than looking at a static document.

Maybe then we could have had a real working meeting, rather than frustrating the poor audit partner with something he felt was wasting his time.

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