Under Review: Internal Auditor David Elliot Serves As A Catalyst For Improving Effectiveness And Efficiency

Jan 8, 2013
  |  by Andrew Hamilton

For David Elliott (MSAC ’10), it’s all about the numbers. Elliott is the director of internal review for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. He’s an internal auditor, a job often misunderstood but vital to increasing the value of organizational operations and serving as a catalyst for improving effectiveness and efficiency. For Elliott, it caps a lifetime in which he’s been both fascinated with, and the master of, numbers.

A native of southwest Oklahoma, Elliott spent 24 years in the Army working in finance. He was stationed in various posts both in the U.S. and abroad, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Germany and South Korea. He found Korea interesting for many reasons, particularly its emphasis on education. “The students there sometimes have 21 different subjects in one week,” he recalls. In 2000, he relocated to Virginia and worked in resource management, before moving into internal review. He’s also served as the deputy chief financial officer in the Office of Administration, Executive Office of the President. 

Unlike the common perception of an auditor as someone from the IRS looking for tax cheats, an internal auditor for the government looks for high-risk areas in which fraud, waste and abuse can occur. Elliott reviews a program from top to bottom to determine whether internal controls are working as intended, applicable laws are being followed, all regulations are in place and efficiencies can be  recommended. 
 
“I examine areas of concern among top-level leadership,” Elliott says. Those concerns have taken him abroad to Iraq, for example, when the Army wanted to ensure that money targeted for a project there was being spent correctly. He has also traveled to Afghanistan to audit the work of a contractor supporting U.S. forces. “I uncovered a government employee in Japan who was embezzling government funds,” he says. “I worked with Criminal Investigation Command and FBI agents to gather evidence that led to the indictment and successful prosecution of the employee in federal court.” 
 
Every day is different for Elliott, and brings an opportunity to make a difference. “I serve as independent eyes for the command,” he says. “The results of my work can bring about large scale positive change and ensure better controls over taxpayer funds. It’s an important job.

 

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