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The banking jobs : Head of Assignment in the Inspection Générale
Diplomacy, an analytical mind and attention to detail — three essential qualities for a good auditor. Nagib Kolla, Head of Assignment at BNP Paribas Cardif, is something of an expert on this, as he has been conducting audits all over the world for the last four years. For him, every new assignment marks the start of an in depth investigation... Interview.
Sum up your role as head of assignment in a few words.
My role is to participate to the control framework of operations run smoothly within BNP Paribas Cardif, by making sure that we manage risks and comply with regulations. I do this by regularly conducting audits for Insurance pole.
What are the main steps of an audit assignment?
There are four steps that make up an audit assignment. The first is preparation, where we familiarize ourselves with the scope covered by the inspection and make first contact with the auditees. The second step is a risk assessment based on the documents we have received and interviews we have carried out with the auditees. During the third step of the assignment, we assess the level of risk management on the ground. Lastly, at the report phase, we write up and share our observations and recommendations.
It should be noted that this methodology is always the same, regardless of the business being audited. Having this fixed framework and clear objectives is reassuring, both for the auditors and the auditees.
Was joining Inspection Générale something you had to think about a lot, or an obvious choice?
It became an obvious choice. When I joined BNP Paribas, I started out in operational roles. After these initial experiences, I wanted to go further and have an interdisciplinary view of the Group. That is why I joined Inspection Générale. I was also thinking that audit could offer me to work closer to the Management of the Bank and widen my perspectives.
In your opinion, what does it take to become a top auditor?
First of all, you need to be a hard worker, because it’s very full on! You also need to be good with people and an excellent listener, as well as diplomatic, especially in discussions with auditees. You also have to be analytical of course, so that you can identify risks and make a diagnosis. Likewise, being comfortable summarizing and reporting, both orally and in writing, is essential. Last but not least, this job requires fine attention to detail. Risk management is crucial for banks and even a tiny error can be very costly.
Is a prior international background essential for this position?
The fact that I have already lived abroad and speaking several languages — is definitely an asset that gives you more opportunities to go abroad. In my case, I have had the opportunity to carry out assignments in every continent. It has been a great way to advance my career, all while having unique experiences of other cultures.
“ All of the assignments are different. You might carry out two or three in one year, and each one involves a different team, a different country, etc. You meet new people and look at very diverse issues. There is definitely no such thing as a routine! ”
Head of Assignment in the Inspection Générale
Any stand out memories to share?
While on assignment in Russia, I experienced the heaviest snowfall that the city’s weather services had ever recorded. One month’s worth of snow fell in 48 hours! Going to the office in that sort of weather — and at less than 15°C — was definitely different to the usual.