Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do you do a ‘Home Audit’?

“The general definition of an audit is an evaluation of a person, organization, system, process, enterprise, project or product. The goal of an audit is to express an opinion on the person / organization/system (etc) in question, under evaluation based on work done on a test basis.

The in-laws and mumma are arriving ‘Together’ in the last week of this month. My niece is arriving the week before that – which effectively means I have only this weekend to be prepared for my yearly ‘Home Audit’.

I undertake the internal audit task once a month – mini sub-audits happen every weekend but the overhaul happens once a month!

When the family visits, I need to re-do the spaces at home. Make certain cupboards empty, make place for the big bags, ensure they can keep their medicines etc at arm’s length and more importantly see that the kitchen is stacked up with all the relevant items.

So I go on my ‘Home Audit’ and that requires planning. Audit planning is developing an overall strategy for the audit. The nature, extent, and timing of planning varies with the:

a) size and complexity of the entity - home set-up for arrival of guests/family, weekly-daily chores

b) experience with the entity which is currently at 5 months,

c) knowledge of the entity's business  - a comfortable abode for all

In case the family is visiting, acceptance sampling is a strict no-no. (Acceptance sampling is sampling to determine whether internal control compliance is greater than or less than the tolerable deviation rate.) The entire entity will be scanned and re-scanned to ensure everything is in compliance with GAHP (Generally Accepted House Principles – which is a manual compiled from mom and mom-in-law’s rules and regulations over the years)

The first step in my audit is the asset classification which takes up maximum time. I have a tough time determining non-current assets i.e. clothes that I no longer need, dusting cloths that need to be thrown, utensils that are not being used regularly, bills and receipts of ages ago that have been and will be kept in drawers for as long as we live.

I find every excuse in the book and outside of it, to keep every single clothing I have in my wardrobe. Now that we have our own wardrobes, I find it even more difficult to decide which clothing I can do away with. But I will need to empty at least 2 compartments – some will be done away with in our luggage bags or given to charity with a heavy heart. Yes it hurts - Not only the fact that some favourites have got old but also the fact that you no longer fit into the fairly new ones owing to the newly found pounds in your body.

I do not as an unwritten rule venture into classifying MDH’s possessions – he is even more indecisive than I’m, especially when it comes to the matters of the cloth. The fact that he is on a weight losing spree has meant that the luggage bags have been opened to bring out the old clothes which still look brand new. Necessary disclosures for the above will be provided to the home advisories when they visit in 2 weeks time.

Compliance to the Kitchen & Bathroom Laws is mandatory. Fortunately I’m most finicky about these 2 places in my house. I can still manage to stand messy wardrobes & cluttered desks, but I need my kitchen and bathroom to be spick and span at any given time of the day; therefore, inspection of these places will pass the audit test even if surprise visits are thrown. Just that that additional sets of towels and napkins need to be unearthed from the cupboards, as they will be changed more frequently than I do. The fridge though needs to be visited to check for any expired items which need to be done away with immediate effect; unless I’m dying for a lecture from the advisories. I do a frequent check but at times I tend to forget as well.

Masalas and all other food items need to be re-arranged, cans and bottles need to be filled up with the requisite pulses, dals, raw materials for breakfast items etc. I also maintain inventory tags especially for the masalas – I now recognize them fairly well but I can get lost at times – Chilly Powder with Dhana-Jeera in it, Plain Chilly Powder, Goan Fish Masala, Chicken Masala, Kala Masala ( all look similar – trust me!) I don’t take the effort to remember when I have an easy way out.

Provisions for future assets will be recorded as additional shopping is warranted for quilts and bed-sets since some old ones were disposed off when we moved recently. Plus we expect additional guests along with the parents – sister-in-law and husband, friend and his spouse, cousins in short spurts for the next 3 months – I need to ensure ‘the entity’ is well-equipped and well stocked to handle these peak periods.

The joint director of the entity i.e MDH will be put on a high alert in terms of ensuring that the newspapers are kept in the designated slot, the other joint director is not hurried in the mornings so that she does not forget her routine checks, clothes are not scattered in and out of the wardrobe, things are kept and not dumped into the drawers so that when required finding necessary things is an easy task, and not a project in itself and that he does not lose the encryption key, which he often tends to, when the tasks are delegated to him.

The other employees i.e. the cook and the cleaner will be given clear instructions once the advisories take custody of the entity for the next 3 months.

The purposes of these audits may be varied, but they all yield unique value to the auditee. Such purposes may include:

a) Gaining an understanding of the area’s operations - They don’t need to understand they are subject matter experts in this area!

b) Evaluating the adequacy of the control structure for potential key issues and areas of concern - However perfect I maybe, mom and mom-in-law will always have their concept of perfection. I don’t think they agree with Aamir when he said in DCH that, ‘Perfection cannot be improved!’

c) Providing on-going feedback to area management - I’m not sure this has ever stopped and it will ever. However, this time around I secretly hope that the other joint director gets it more

d) Validating and reviewing data for completeness – Numerous visits to shopping malls and supermarkets will evidence that all is still not ok with the data provided.

e) Accuracy, and authorization, benchmarking, or assessing a data centre for security, operations, application maintenance, and system implementations - Ok I compete against super high standards – my home in Mumbai - done up my mom, is one of the most neat ones I’ve seen. Her sense of arrangement, colour co-ordination and utilization of all spaces in the house is impeccable. My mother-in-law, well she could be a contender for Monica’s mom when it comes to cooking and cleanliness

However, I think I’ll still come out with flying colours, after all I’ve taken the best of the both worlds. Moreover if it comes to comparability (Users evaluate accounting information by comparison. Similar companies account for similar transactions in similar ways) at the end of it all – I still think I’ll pass!

9 comments:

anuja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anuja said...

In my opinion, the management's ( u & amit ) assertion, that your house maintained effective internal control over reporting, as of the pre-arrival period of ur family is fairly stated in all materail aspects based on the criteria mentioned in the article.... ;)
Auditor xxx
E & Y

starry eyed said...

This was hilarious! Will come back and read it more thoroughly for more good laughs!

You're tagged.

Minal said...

@anu: the auditor speaks:-)hahahah, thanks for commenting here again!!!
I'm glad the writing inspired a even mre superlative comment

@starry eyed: thank you;-)) checked the tag and will do it...just that may take sometime and lots of thinking!

Vineeta said...

Oh my god! Can't tell u how much I can relate to this post :))

U knw.. initially I used to do annual home audit based on my free time.. but then later I realized that I have to do it whenever my in laws or relatives visit my place! So now, I have made the rule, annual home audit will always be before they come :)) Simple solution!!

Nita said...

Minal, I thought I was organised, until I read this post. Actually I am like you exactly when it comes to bathroom and kitchen these two pass the cleanliness test at any time. However my masalas etc tend to go out of order at times and other stuff too and I need a re-check when I am expecting people.

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining post Minal as always. For the kinda of multi tasker perfectionist you are, you will always get an unqualified opinion.

Swapna

Minal said...

@vineeta: it's the story of all couples living abroad or in different cities than that of the parents!!!

@nita: you've got company:-)

@swapna: thank you madam!

Freud Reborn said...

As they say in CISA language..
You have provided Reasonable Assurance with Objective Evidence!