Preventive care is the best care.
By Marilou Vroman, CPA, CFE
With the topic of healthcare so frequently in the news and topics of discussion, I couldn’t help but notice how people feel about preventive care is quite like how some dealers feel about internal audits.
I recently visited the doctor for an annual physical and went through the usual tests including EKG, blood work and X-rays to help reveal any underlying health issues I may not be aware of. I felt perfectly fine during the visit, and all the outward signs of being healthy were present. The test results fortunately revealed everything was just fine. So, if we appear to be healthy on the outside, or our last physical was good, why do we keep going through the process of missing time from work or family, the unpleasantness of medical testing, and paying for those surprise lab bills that are not covered by insurance? Put simply, it’s for peace of mind. We all want to live long and healthy lives and preventive care is part of the process.
The same applies in business. Dealers want to have well run and healthy operations that stand the test of time. Internal audits are essentially the blood tests, CAT scans and X-Rays that are designed to detect those unknown risks that may not be apparent on the surface. While a dealership may be profitable, there may be operational health risks in underlying areas that are difficult to detect and may show no signs until it’s too late.
We have dealers who have annual internal audits and at times their results come back quite positive – no fraudulent activity observed, no major operational or compliance risks detected, no employee self-enrichment, conflicts of interest or avoidable losses. With those positive results, do these dealers then stop having internal audits? Absolutely not.
Because a store is healthy today, that does not mean it will be that way six months to a year from now – changes in personnel, economic environment, store culture, internal controls and processes all can create an impact on the health of the store over time.
When asked about investing in a healthy lifestyle, paying for triathlons, and choosing side salads over French fries, at the end of the day I will often say “it’s still cheaper than heart surgery”. Preventive care is often the best care.