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Don’t overlook these items in your internal audit plan

Feb 01, 2021

It’s no big secret that an internal audit plan should be risk-based and evaluated at least annually to ensure internal audits are focusing on high-risk areas. But is your annual audit plan missing something? Has the process of putting together an internal audit plan been the same year over year, or has the process changed and evolved with your organization?

Following up on previous findings

One area the internal audit plan should not overlook is following up on previous internal audit findings. According to the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing, the chief audit executive must establish a follow-up process to monitor and ensure that management actions have been effectively implemented or that senior management has accepted the risk of not taking action.

Some organizations may issue reports and not perform follow-up to ensure the implementation of any actions, others may have an automated system or manually perform follow-up. Either way, audit planning should follow up on previous internal audit findings.

Adding value to the organization

Speaking of the past, Henry Ford was quoted to say, “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” It still rings true today. If internal audit focuses on transactional testing of internal controls, is there an opportunity for internal audit to be part of the solution? The answer is yes! Many internal auditors come from a variety of backgrounds and can help facilitate projects that can improve processes and add additional value. But how? Internal audit can work with management to map out the process, identify pain points, determine possible solutions, ensure solutions consider internal controls and help facilitate the implementation plan.

Why should internal audit assist with these value-add projects? Based on internal audit’s unique view of the organization, they can view the process from a different lens, identify areas where controls may be needed or improved, and help the business unit align the process with the goals and objectives of the organization.

Ready to boost your internal audit plan?

While there is no doubt that the traditional testing of internal controls is valuable and should continue to be on the audit plan, internal audit should not overlook the importance of follow up and how to assist the organization with other value add projects that can help the organization meet their overall goals and objectives. If you’d like to learn more about how your internal audit function can add even greater value, contact Wipfli.

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Janice E. Harden, CPA
Senior Manager, Internal Audit
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