My way to Boehringer Ingelheim
After training in accountancy and becoming an authorised auditor in the USA, I started my career as an external auditor at one of the top four auditing firms. I continued studying alongside my work and obtained my MBA and my financial-analyst diploma in the late 1980s. In 1990, I was given the opportunity to continue my career in Germany, where I had different positions in financial management in a wide range of sectors. At the end of 2011, I took a job at Boehringer Ingelheim as Head of Accounts Payable and Travel and Expense in the global Business Service Centre in Ingelheim.
I wanted a job in internal auditing in order to expand my knowledge of our company. There's no better department for this than auditing as you're dealing with an endless number of internal processes.
My typical working day at Boehringer Ingelheim
My daily routine completely depends on the phase of the audit cycle. I use the time before the start of an audit to determine its aim. I analyse and request data, conduct preparatory interviews with managers and plan discussions with process managers in the audited companies. As our auditing task covers all processes at Boehringer Ingelheim internationally, we also need to take logistics into account, which means that flights, accommodation and local transportation also need to be organised before we can start. The planning phase for each audit takes place at company headquarters in Ingelheim. When we're there, we naturally use the time to exchange experiences and improve the audit process. During this time, the atmosphere is always full of energy as we're meeting up with colleagues we haven't seen for a long time.
The actual work with a team of two to five auditors takes two to three weeks, depending on the scope of the audit. The auditing phase kicks off with a presentation introducing ourselves and the aim of the audit to local process managers and management. In the next two to three weeks, the audit team has on-site meetings with process managers and top management in order to determine if there are any existing risks or inefficiencies and how these can be reduced or avoided completely. We also look for Best Practice examples we can transfer to other locations. In addition to the interviews, we also collect concrete evidence to give our observations and recommendations added weight. This results in a preliminary audit report that we present on the final day. Once this 'fieldwork' is over, we finalise the report before presenting it to the management of the audited business unit as well as decision-makers and external auditors used by Boehringer Ingelheim and the board of directors.