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Thinking Like an Auditor

  • Top 3 Areas for Improving Your Audit Department

    January 30, 2019 | By Toby DeRoche MBA, CIA, CCSA, CRMA, CICA, CFE

    In the past eight years, I have worked with more than 500 audit departments. Most of the people I talk to every day are looking for a solution to their unique requirements. When I look back across all those departments, they definitely have unique needs, but in general, they are vastly more similar than different. The similarities span departments of all sizes, specialties, and industries. Whether you are in a department with five auditors or 100 auditors, in a corporate, non-profit, or government auditing environment, in cutting edge technology companies and very traditional financial companies, we are all doing the same type of work. Each organization just has a twist on the audit work. It’s like we all speak the same language, just with different accents.

    Every department needs to complete a risk assessment, build an audit plan, complete the audit work, perform reviews, create an audit report, create audit committee reports, and follow up on open issues. Instead of trying to do all of this manually, audit software can help to do all this much more effectively. Great audit management software, like TeamMate+ Audit, takes all these similarities into account while allowing you to configure the application to meet your specific needs. Once we get past the basic functions that span all departments, we can dig deeper into the areas where the department needs to improve. In the end, all departments are trying to improve three specific areas: visibility, consistency, and efficiency.

    Visibility

    Internal auditors need to effectively manage the department, the audit universe, and all aspects of the audit plan. Even more, we need to improve our value to the organization by providing insight into emerging risks. Audit and issue trending reports, management dashboards, and insights into work across the lines of defense provide the level of detail needed to demonstrate Internal Audit is keeping up.

    Consistency

    A lack of structure makes it challenging for audit managers to support and supervise teams to ensure the audit work is consistent and reliable. If every auditor captures and documents data in their own way, without an automated system in place, it can be nearly impossible to interpret someone else’s work. Implementing systematic and workflow-driven audit processes helps your organization derive more value from internal auditing by eliminating errors and inconsistencies with standard data collection and reporting methods.

    Efficiency

    Maintaining a relevant and efficient approach to auditing helps Internal Audit drive organizational value and play a key role as a valued partner. Integrating your day-to-day workflow across the audit team and pulling together audit processes that are often scattered over shared drives, spreadsheets, email, and other unconnected technologies reduce audit fatigue. In addition, automating your processes saves time for auditors who previously relied on spreadsheets and other manual processes to share data and generate reports.

    Through a combination of the basic nature of our jobs and adherence to The IIA’s Standards, we are all very well aligned. True, every organization is a little unique, and it’s the nuances that make auditing so interesting. TeamMate+ works diligently to understand the broad needs of the auditing community as well as the nuances that make each department special.

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