Most of us, if not all, think that Internal Audit and just plain ole audit per se is on continuous police mode -- something or someone put there by Management to act as live cctv's to catch people doing things redhandedly. But as an Internal Audit practitioner for more than 6 years, that really is not the case, well at least not in its entirety.
Yes, internal audit does that - catch or try to catch people committing fraud, taking things from the office and bringing them to their homes, conniving to reimburse personal expenses, and so many other things that we sometimes think are not bad for business because we have grown so accustomed to them we think they're part of the daily grind. But aside from that, Internal Audit actually has more to offer than just be "catchers". Internal auditors can be investigators, analysts that can look into the whole business and try to pinpoint areas that lack control or loopholes that allow anomalies to slowly squeeze their way into the company. Internal audit also helps put up defenses or controls that do just that - defend the company from all these nuances.
So how exactly does Internal Audit partner with your business? Here's a short and uncomplicated list:
Getting to know you. No, this is not a song nor a musicale we're talking about. Internal Auditors will spend time with Management and the business process owners (accountants, staff, operations supervisors, etc) to get to know the ins and outs of the operations. Management should be able to make the auditors understand the entire business and how it works without divulging trade secrets (unless they want to!) so the auditors can now determine what actions, procedures, or documents are out of place. This then leads to risk assessment or pointing out areas or processes that may have issues.
Pointing out. This is where it gets interesting, well, at least for the Internal Auditors. Since auditors are third parties, they have the best chance of determining which are nit going the right way - which processess seem out of place, which documents seem fishy, or which sections or even specific positions are having issues with intergrity. Inconsistent, anomalies, or even fradulent.
Clean up. And since areas that need to be removed, cleaned, and defended are now out in the open and clearly document for Management to be aware of, Internal Auditors will now recommend clean up procedures to correct, maintain and/or prevent these from happening again. Clean up for areas that have issues or anomalies, maintenance for those that are doing well and prevention (internal c for areas that are doing well but maybe susceptible to issues later on.
Management still manages. Internal audit will not be the ones to have the burden of implementation. They just identify and recommend, whereas Management still manages the business by implementing the internal auditor recommendations. This is why it's called a partnership - Management should not let go of their responsibility and Internal audit will never take that away from them. They're just there to give a fresh prospective and suggest what detergents to use to get rid of the dirt and stain. Management still does the washing and the wringing.
But it does not end there. It's not YET a happily ever after kind of thing. That's why Internal Auditors can also be consultants, even third party service providers for your business. And there can be innumerable services that Internal Auditors can help provide. All you need to do is ask.
***this is post is sponsored:
SPOT Audit Rockstars