In my first article I introduced the concept of how to define and measure the process of ‘adding value’. In this and later articles I will explore in more detail how the different measures relate to the work of an Internal Auditor and how this could help the profession in demonstrating the benefit it brings to the recipient.
In many ways the ability to release an individual’s time, or that of their team, from one onerous task to several others – can be the most under-sold benefit that an audit can present. Yet in today’s world of business it is not uncommon for the internal audit process to be deprioritised due to competing demands and limitations upon the capacity of a team.
It has often been a frustration of mine where such reasons are provided for not going ahead with one or more audits from a programme and something that I have always pushed back against. Not having enough time to facilitate an internal audit is exactly why an internal audit is required. We are here to help.
It is unhelpful that the internal audit process itself can still sometimes carry connotations of creating work for auditees and creating more tasks rather than making the auditee’s life easier. For this reason if no other, it is essential that the benefits of the internal audit process are made clear, by explaining how internal audit can add value.
This is where stakeholder management comes back into focus. When planning an internal audit review, or broader programme of activity it is the requirement of the lead auditor to identify such barriers to the process but also risks in relation to operational capacity and consider how these can be addressed within the scoping of that review or audit strategy. It is also an opportunity to explain clearly and concisely how the internal audit process can add value to that organisation.
So what are the most common outcomes that help save time for an auditee?
Some examples can be found below:
- Removal of redundant or duplicated controls
- Better use of IT systems
- Re-profiling of responsibilities
- Sharing new ways of working
So, if you are reading this and do not currently work as an internal auditor, but are frequently the auditee, I challenge you to think again before you attempt to push back your next audit. Instead engage with your internal auditor and ask them how they can help create additional capacity for you and your team by saving you time.
Kevin Limn, Deputy Managing Director, TIAA
Additional articles in this series;