One dark morning, lit by the subtle blue glow of a computer screen our unexpecting victim Joe, Operations VP, heard the mundane tone of an incoming email. With a sigh, he looked over from the latest production report and glanced at his phone.
URGENT: AER Audit request Wapiti Area January 2015
Still blissfully unaware of how much anxiety this audit would cause, our victim opened the email.
"To Whom it May Concern:
The AER will be auditing the Wapiti Area for January of 2015. Please provide production records, accounting documents and measurement schematics that represent that time frame.
We expect an answer within the next 30 days"
His heart began to race and his palms became clammy as he took in the repercussions of this email.
"That was 4 years ago, I wasn't even working here then, have I even seen the schematics for Wapiti? Where is Wapiti?"
After spiraling for a few more minutes, he poured himself a fresh cup of coffee and opened his company directory.
An initial search revealed exactly what he feared, there was only one measurement schematic saved for that area, and it was from 2018. He opened up the site list for Wapiti and groaned as he realized there were 50 separate locations within that area. Resigning himself to a complicated few weeks, he opened his email and sent out the meeting request “URGENT: AER Wapiti Audit”.
What followed was exactly as you’d expect, several trips back and forth to the field office tracking down old papers, endless phone calls to the drafting company that was apparently doing your measurement schematics at that time, harried meetings with the accountants and regulatory groups to track down the information that was actually available and hiring a regulatory consultant to create the documents that were missing. Several sleepless nights, a few grey hairs and several thousand dollars later most of what the AER had requested was completed and delivered to the auditors.
The larger question of how to prevent this from happening again, and how to bring the rest of the company’s assets to this level hung in the air, haunting the whole company and adding an ominous reminder every time our victim heard his email ding.
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