Thought of the moment

Why you should never audit your spouse

For those of you didn’t already know, I’ve just moved to Melbourne with my wife to-be, we’ve been in this impressive city for about four days now and I’m glad to report it’s just as enjoyable as I’d hoped!

We’ve spent the past few (arduous) days house hunting, which meant that we also had to sit down and draw up a budget.

Whilst this is a pastime (not) enjoyed by many households, it did require us to take a hard look at our finances. As Alex is the CFO in our relationship, she had the joyous task of looking at my bank account and working out how I spend money.

The results of her review did not make for happy reading – I needed to change my ways!

After much back-and-forthing we arrived at a great outcome, with some key operational changes being agreed which would lead to a better quality of life (outcome) for both of us.

Whilst the outcome was absolutely the right one, and what we both needed, the process was fraught with disagreement, emotion, side arguments and ego.

This got me thinking about how business to business relationships can have very similar experiences when conducting supplier audits or reviews – but the risks of permanent damage to the relationship are so much higher when you can’t ‘kiss and make up’ in quite the same way.


Therefore, when you’re reviewing the activities of your nearest and dearest (supplier relationships), business customers need to focus on the outcome and not the process.

It’s essential that both parties are focused on the outcome, and not the process of a contract review.

It can be very tempting to conduct the review using internal resource. On the face of it: it seems cheaper, avoids internal red tape, gets going quicker (as you don’t have to on-board and brief a team) and it can appear less formal.

But it struck me that even if all of these concerns are true (which I don’t believe they are), it means that the organisation is wrapped up in executing the process of review, and is exposed to all of those unecessary and damaging features of reviewing your ‘spouse’ – dragging up past arguments, ego, emotion, personal attacks etc.

What is really needed is the objective presentation of fact by an independent party.

This leaves both parties free to focus solely on getting to the right outcome, which should (usually) be on strengthening the relationship and enhancing mutual benefit.


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