IT Auditing

Talks and Workshops

Dr. Groves’ sessions are an educational journey that fuses audit principles with psychological science. A leading voice in the field, he has a distinguished record of conducting groundbreaking scientific studies on auditor thinking, complemented by his participation in over 700 events throughout his career. This wealth of experience provides attendees with exceptional insights into enhancing auditor cognitive capabilities and performance. An IIA All-Star Speaker and a keynote speaker at some of the largest audit conferences in the U.S., Toby has also presented at GAM and ISACA/IIA GRC conferences and addressed more than 300 chapter events, as well as internal corporate and government audit operations.

Ready to explore an event for your group?  We invite you to submit a speaking inquiry today. You can jump to the most popular audit-specific talks here, or see other talks here

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How These Sessions Are Different

My sessions are dynamic, interactive journeys designed to challenge and expand the way auditors think and work. With a foundation in psychology (PhD) and a rich background working closely with IT auditors and being a former CPA, my expertise bridges forensic psychology, forensic accounting, AI and the cognitive sciences to deliver content that truly resonates with IT audit professionals.

Research-Backed, Results-Driven Presentations

At the core of my sessions is a pioneering scientific study on auditor thinking, an endeavor that has expanded into a dynamic repository of auditor thinking patterns. This ongoing research fuels my interactive presentations, making them not only captivating but also profoundly educational and impactful.

Beyond Technical Knowledge: A Focus on Cognitive Excellence

My philosophy centers on a simple yet profound truth: the value of an auditor’s technical knowledge is magnified by their ability to think critically and apply that knowledge effectively. My sessions are crafted to enhance this aspect, equipping auditors with the tools to become more efficient, insightful, and impactful in their roles.

Topics Tailored Especially for IT Auditors

From the psychology of critical thinking in auditing and tackling fraud to effective communication strategies, ethics, and leveraging data science, my presentations cover a wide range of topics crucial for today’s auditors. Each session is tailored to address the most pressing issues and trends in the auditing world, ensuring your team remains at the forefront of the industry.

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This is significant because each event contributes valuable insights that accumulate, continually enhancing the value provided to future audiences..


The session titles below have been some of the most popular in the audit industry, having been chosen for keynotes and workshops at top conferences and by leading audit shops, government agencies and leading audit associations including the IIA All-Star Conference, GRC and GAM, Time Warner, The Federal Reserve, KPMG, Deloitte, the ACFE, IMA, PMI, ISACA and others too numerous to list. They can be merged to create custom events in lengths of 1 hour keynotes to full-day workshops.

Critical Thinking for IT Professionals

Untapped 2024: Next Level Thinking for IT Auditors

The premiere "Thinking" Session for Auditors. “Untapped 2024: Next Level Thinking for IT Auditors” is a must-see for auditors of all experience levels. This session provides IT Auditors the tools and inspiration to access their best thinking potential when it counts the most. Untapped 2024 includes an evaluation of our approach to emerging issues including Artificial Intelligence, sustainability, remote auditing, data analytics, fraud detection, and cybersecurity.
"The best course I’ve ever had, in 40 years of taking CPE"- J. Derrick, CPA

This highly acclaimed session, tailored specifically for IT auditors and led by Dr. Toby Groves, a researcher in the field, embarks on a captivating exploration of the science behind effective audit practices. The session serves as a practical and inspirational call to action, equipping auditors with powerful tools to enhance their thinking when it matters most. It introduces new thinking, daily habits, and advanced strategies that substantially improve judgment and decision-making. Participants will learn to cultivate the foundational cognitive abilities that support the key skills required for auditors, enabling them to perceive insights that remain unnoticed by others. The course teaches how to dismantle mental blocks and approach problem-solving from fresh perspectives. These same strategies naturally promote confidence, mental clarity, flexibility, and resilience which improves mental well-being and resistance to stress and burnout. Additionally, we will critically evaluate our audit approaches in light of emerging issues such as artificial intelligence, regulatory changes, sustainability, remote auditing, data analytics, fraud detection, and cybersecurity, equipping auditors with the foresight and adaptability required to excel in the evolving audit environment.

Also now available Untapped for Teams!

AI Think Therefore I AM

Integrating AI and Critical Thinking for the Modern IT Auditor

This cutting-edge course teaches IT auditors the important skill of integrating critical thinking with artificial intelligence to significantly enhance the performance of audit tasks, decision-making, problem-solving, data analysis, and more. This class explores the intersection of cognitive science and AI, capitalizing on the unique opportunities AI presents. Participants will learn to critically evaluate AI outputs, recognize nuances, biases, and gaps, and use specialized critical thinking skills to craft thoughtful prompts for more useful outputs.

The course employs practical techniques and hands-on examples to demonstrate how to effectively identify and mitigate biases in AI outputs, uncover logical inconsistencies, and formulate contextually relevant questions. Participants will learn how to apply these skills in real-world scenarios, augmenting human expertise in areas such as data analytics and decision support.

CyberPsychology: Conquering Insider Threat

A psychology powered session where we use insider threat as a concept to examine an advanced model that is an effective approach for all types of threats

Insider threats—stemming from accidental, negligent, or intentional actions—are a significant source of cyber risk, potentially leading to substantial financial and reputational damage. This session arms you with strategies to develop and implement an organizational response to insider threats, utilizing proactive measures to identify and mitigate evolving risks and vulnerabilities. We will delve into a triad of observables serving as audit resources in this domain, and also explore how these methods can extend to address a wider range of IT-related organizational threats.

Advanced Threats: Mastering the Complex Dynamics of Modern Cybersecurity

We are witnessing an era where advanced threats, powered by sophisticated AI and advanced psychological techniques, are being wielded by attackers to breach organizational defenses globally. These multifaceted threats leverage cutting-edge technology and human psychology to exploit vulnerabilities. This psychology powered session, tailored for IT auditors and cybersecurity experts, will utilize case studies and the latest research to enhance our understanding of and capabilities to mitigate these threats. We will explore a range of critical topics, including profiles of advanced threats, new research on insider threats, and the use of fraud profiling to address complex cybersecurity challenges. The session will delve into the essentials of anomaly detection, audit assets, effective access control, and robust audit trails. Additionally, we will discuss the governance of threat programs and the refinement of best practices for controls.

Thinking Beyond Patterns

Finding Meaning in Your Data

We have more data than ever, but what is it really telling us? New technologies and analytical methods detect myriad patterns in our data, but what do they really mean and what decisions can they help us make? Is the underlying data reliable? Is it valid for the purpose you are using it? Cognitive technologies distance us from the context of our data, shrouding the meaning behind the patterns and how to apply the information for effective decision-making. New thinking approaches are required to move beyond simple recognition of correlations to insight into why relationships exist. This session will teach methods that give us the ability to discern the inner character of problems, to recognize why interactions occur, and what decisions can be made with the information.

Seeing Patterns Others Don't

In a world brimming with complexity, the ability to discern how various elements interact and influence each other stands at the heart of innovative problem-solving and sound decision-making. This session promises to unveil the secrets of connectivity, offering a deep dive into the art of systems thinking and pattern recognition. You’ll explore cutting-edge techniques to uncover hidden and unconventional patterns, tackle contradictory evidence with finesse, and master the art of identifying and interpreting intricate connections. Prepare to transform your perspective and develop a keen eye for the patterns that elude others, opening doors to unparalleled insights and strategic advantages.

When the Facts Aren’t Enough: The Art of Communicating Complex Information

Mastering the art of translating complex information into influential insights is a skill that transcends mere data analysis—it’s about crafting narratives that resonate and motivate. Our session, ‘When the Facts Aren’t Enough,’ focuses on the nuanced art of making intricate data accessible and compelling, even to those unfamiliar with the subject matter. This expertise signifies not just an in-depth comprehension of the data but a profound insight into its real-world implications and how it’s perceived by diverse audiences. By adopting the perspectives of your listeners and embodying their experiences, this interactive workshop delves into the cognitive strategies and thinking paradigms essential for clear, impactful communication. Participants will emerge with enhanced abilities to convey their knowledge persuasively, ensuring their messages are not just heard but felt and acted upon

The New Psychology of Professional Skepticism

"This presenter really made me rethink skepticism, it was very interesting and helpful to get a more psychological perspective on skepticism" - G. Novak, Auditor

The course will go beyond traditional methodologies, delving into how cognitive biases and social dynamics subtly shape auditor judgments and decisions. Through interactive case studies and psychological insights, auditors will gain the tools to critically assess their own skepticism in practice, enhancing their ability to discern truth in complex scenarios. Additionally, we will introduce innovative strategies to foster a culture of thoughtful skepticism within teams, ensuring that auditors can navigate the intricacies of modern auditing with confidence and precision. This session promises to transform the way auditors apply skepticism, offering a richer, more nuanced perspective critical for the challenges of today’s auditing landscape.

Emotional Intelligence in IT Auditing: Enhancing Judgment and Communication

Emotional intelligence deeply influences our reasoning, shaping how we prioritize, interpret, and present information. It’s crucial for auditors, affecting judgment and decision-making. This session delves into emotional intelligence’s role in auditing, focusing on enhancing this skill to improve our thinking and effectiveness as auditors. We’ll explore strategies to boost emotional awareness and mastery, vital for navigating audit challenges. Attendees will learn how to elevate their emotional intelligence and communication, key for mastering complex professional interactions and engagements.


Finding Fraud

An Interactive Workshop

Finding Fraud is a rare look at fraud from the inside, including the perspectives of auditors that unwittingly helped perpetrators, and Investigators that found themselves on the wrong side of the law. We’ll examine the viewpoints of the victims, forensic psychologists, interrogation experts, perpetrators, fraud researchers, and law enforcement. The session confronts the most persistent challenges we have with fighting fraud today. It presents behind-the-scenes research from multiple perspectives that will challenge everything you thought you knew about fraud. 

The New Psychology of Fraud

You'll never think anout fraud the same way again
"I was blown away by your presentation. One of the best I have ever seen." - Mike Gowell, Wolters Kluwer

This story-based session from the speaker’s perspective is a paradigm shift in understanding the minds of both investigators and perpetrators. Through a compelling narrative-based approach, incorporating firsthand accounts and cutting-edge research, we’ll unravel why conventional investigative techniques may inadvertently hinder rather than help. This session will illuminate the hidden myths and pitfalls entrenched in our standard practices and assumptions about fraud. We will dissect the often-misunderstood concept of skepticism and reveal how investigators might, despite their best intentions, play into the hands of sophisticated fraud schemes.


Ethics in The Real World

Codes of ethics, ethics training, and “tone at the top” are expected to improve ethical behavior. But do they?  Research shows that not only can these traditional initiatives be unhelpful, but they can harm ethical reasoning!  Instead of looking at how people are “supposed” to behave, this class examines how people actually make ethical decisions in the real world.  We will explain how ethics codes can cause unethical behavior, why we misunderstand the influence of tone at the top, and why people betray their own ethical beliefs.

"Toby was a fantastic presenter and came at ethics from a different angle than I’ve seen before. "

The Science of Ethics

This session delves into the fascinating neuroscience behind how our minds work when we face decisions with conflicting motivations or difficult dilemmas for which the best answer is not clear.  Attendees will explore real-life dilemmas and learn effective cognitive processes to deal with those dilemmas as revealed by the latest research in neuroscience.  The session draws on organizational psychology, cognitive science, psychobiology and even sports psychology to create an immersive experience and unveil the hidden ways our minds perceive and interpret problems.


Advanced Communication Skills for IT Auditors

Master the nuances of advanced communication in the IT auditing sphere with this comprehensive course. Delve into the intricacies of both written and verbal communication across in-person and virtual platforms. Develop the skills to present complex audit-related information compellingly and employ storytelling techniques to motivate change. Gain expertise in sophisticated persuasion and negotiation strategies to influence outcomes effectively. Learn the fine art of navigating difficult discussions with tact and learn how to probe deeply with questions that unveil the true intent behind the responses. Acquire techniques to establish immediate trust and adapt your communication style to various cultural contexts. For IT auditors who aspire to elevate their influence and impact, this course is an essential step towards becoming a formidable communicator.

The Art of the Audit Interview

Strategies for Insightful Information Gathering

Unearthing vital information, demystifying assumptions, and revealing the intricacies of actions are the hallmarks of masterful audit interviews. These interactions provide a unique chance to navigate through narratives as they emerge and to pose impactful questions that extract critical insights. The art of the audit interview extends beyond mere conversation—it is a strategic tool for investigation, understanding, and essential information gathering. In this session, you’ll learn the subtleties of adopting an effective interpersonal style, formulating incisive questions that go beyond surface answers, interpreting non-verbal communication, and adjusting your approach to suit various cultural contexts. Participants will depart equipped with the most current behavioral research tools to conduct audit interviews that deliver results.


The Science of Great Leadership

Leadership skills have never been more important, in all industries and at all levels, whether executive or front-line employees.  Organizations succeed in meaningful ways when their individual members have the ability to inspire action, build trust, solve complex problems, coordinate effective teams, and resolve contentious conflicts without damaging important relationships.  This requires a deep understanding of human motivation, emotional intelligence, and nuances of cultural psychology.  This session teaches a powerful model that allows attendees to build their own core leadership skills as well as the psychology of performance and motivation and the social psychology of organizational behavior.


The Science of Organizational Culture and Decision-Making

Equity and diversity across neurodiversity, racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and ages enrich social networks, fostering deep learning, flexible thinking, and long-term organizational health and wellness. Diverse teams, embracing a spectrum of perspectives, achieve higher satisfaction, superior decision-making, and elevated performance. Discover the science that enhances social networks and learn to embed social standards and norms promoting equity and inclusivity. Master strategies for building a culture that encourages personal responsibility in shaping group norms and attitudes essential for embracing a broad spectrum of diversity, driving collective success.