What is considered a good or quality internal audit? What are the goals of an internal audit? What are some tips to ensure a quality audit? These may be some of the questions floating around in your head. For many business owners an internal audit is less daunting than an external audit because when an external audit is conducted many issues (some tax-related) are revealed without even the business owner being aware of it first and in many cases an external audit is not chosen by the organization. An internal audit is different because it involves competent and qualified personnel trained within the realm of internal auditing to perform the audit. However, one thing must be said, an internal audit cannot be quality unless the people conducting the audit are conducting quality work as well.
A Good Internal Audit
Let’s face it, we just don’t want any random employee conducting an internal audit. We want someone who is dedicated and possesses the skills and training necessary to conduct the audit accurately and sufficiently. In order to make this happen there are a few qualities that are important for an internal auditor to have. One quality that is vital is business acumen. This essentially means that the internal auditor must have a vast understanding on how the business operates as a whole as well as in pieces. For instance, this person should be able to easily identify what challenges and risks may lie ahead which may impede future growth and goal achievement. In addition, the internal auditor needs to foster effective communication skills. It is often said that communication is key, and in many cases that has proven to be true. An internal auditor must not only be great at sharing information, thoughts or concerns but also great at listening and translating information as to be a proactive listener. Furthermore, experience as well as integrity are also highly valued traits for an internal auditor to have. While we only listed a few important traits, I think the message is fairly clear that the internal auditing personnel should as well as needs to be the right people for the job.
Goals of Internal Auditing
The main goals usually cited for an internal audit include adding value while also improving upon the organizations operations. Since an internal audit looks at each department or area within an organization the audit usually reveals any discrepancies or unnecessary processes while also helping to provide suggestions to make things run smoother and more efficiently.
Tips to Ensure a Quality Internal Audit
Some helpful tips to make an internal audit of quality value include items such as making sure that the audit templates being used are really designed for the type of business being audited. Audit templates are not nearly as beneficial if they are too broad or open-ended. The templates must fit the company and its business type. Another tip is to create a quality manual; this manual will help provide valuable information for the internal audit. Another important tip would be to create an audit schedule based on the need.