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Precision Pays When Responding to an Auditor

The Wall Street Journal At Work Blog has an interesting post today.  The post related to salary negotiations, but I believe it applies to audit responses as well.

In a nutshell, the sited study claims that numbers with more significant digits convey credibility and understanding, while rounded numbers seem arbitrary and not well thought out.  The studies actually showed that individuals were able to negotiate better out comes for both salaries and used car purchases by using a precise number as a starting point.

How does this relate to regulatory audits?  When responding to an auditors request for a timeline, most of us will respond with a schedule rounded to the nearest month or year. The nice, round number may look clean on paper, but saying that one will have all CAPA’s remediated within 6 months or a year makes it sound as if the schedule was pulled out of thin air.


So if you have done the hard work of putting together a detailed remediation plan, don’t trash its credibility by rounding the plan’s timeline 1 year or 8 months.  Conversely, if you are put on the spot for a schedule, proposing 38 weeks, or 171 business days may give extra credibly to the response, and buy you some extra time to pull together a comprehensive remediation plan.


Nels Hackl

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