Due to a lack of internal audit experience, new auditors can harbor misunderstandings that may cause uncertainty and tension during an audit.
So, what should today ‘s audit leaders do to portray the Internal Audit as a trusted advisor whose aim is to bring value — not only to the broader enterprise but to the new audit customer too?
Below are four effective strategies for a productive roadshow to reframe the image of the Internal Audit.
Focus on educating new auditors about the importance of the organization’s internal audit
Most staff may not have had much direct experience with the audit process, particularly if their division does not regularly carry out audits. A key component of a roadshow is the constructive clarification of common myths about auditing by demonstrating how internal audit blends into the larger organization as a business partner.
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Be sure to eliminate the misconception that the audit department devotes time and money to an audit in expectation of detecting wrongdoing instead, the audit takes action because the agency, office, or region is vitally essential to the company’s success, either by safeguarding or improving organizational properties.
Simplify the audit report and the audit process
Although auditors understand the purpose and procedures of the audit very well, the audit customers may not be. To build useful potential standards about contact and procedures, break down the audit process for your auditors.
Perhaps through your planning process, you have a slightly different way of recognizing what’s relevant. Walk your auditors through precisely what happened during fieldwork, and what you’re doing to reduce their day-to-day work disruptions.
Don’t forget to emphasize the fact your team is working to get rid of surprises! Audit reports can become a source of stress, so take a little time to describe what ends up going into an audit report, how and where it will be released, and who will read it.
Let your auditors know that the team strives to collaborate with auditors in a spirit of customer satisfaction and quality improvement while undertaking an audit. When an auditee understands the audit process, they will have a better chance of participating and communicating during a potential audit.
Highlight Members of the audit team and previous achievements
Specifically for auditors who may be unfamiliar with the Internal Audit department of your company, provide background about who your auditors are and give examples of past value-add audits.
Think about how it takes skills from other divisions to make internal audit more business-savvy and process-savvy when you have a rotational audit program. If a member of the team has expertise applicable to the head of the department you encounter, be sure to mention that person during the conversation.
You’ll also want to pull up important achievements from the past. Your previous audit progress examples will show how the audit has a positive effect on company results and is not simply a cost center.
Reveal how the team brings in external consultants who are subject matter experts to help determine how well systems are structured and at the conclusion of the evaluations offer expert feedback and best practices.
The Audit should be Client-focused
The previous measures centered on Internal Audit but it doesn’t have to be your roadshow meeting! You will spend 20 percent of the time breaking down myths on what the audit will and will not do, and the remaining 80 percent will support the potential audit client in a more constructive discussion about the Internal Audit — and its useful insight around the company.
Consider trying to bring the individual you meet with a concrete piece of info appropriate to their role, department, or industry to help boost this discussion.
A roadshow, particularly in large, more decentralized companies with remote offices, can be a useful tool to place Internal Audit as a partner for the company. A roadshow can be an excuse to incorporate, clarify misunderstandings and familiarize audit consumers with the idea that Internal Audit seeks to add value to the company’s most critically relevant pieces.