Get back on track with the internal audit schedule

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With Elise Chapman & Loren Gray

Clients and students repeatedly tell us that the internal audit schedule has been forgotten about over the past few years because ‘we don’t have enough staff and we’re the busiest we’ve ever been!’ This is not a surprise given the ABS Statistics released in June 2022, where over 30% of business are struggling to employ suitable staff.

With resources stretched, activities such as internal audits are forgotten about or cast aside, but that needn’t be the case.

Sound familiar? Here are some ideas to get back on track with that audit schedule.

  1. Review the current audit schedule. Focus on the next 3 months to get back on track. Pause anything that does not cover key processes and activities. Think risk, recent changes and matters of importance. Focus on what is relevant and plan a series of smaller resource friendly audits you can roll out to get back on track.
  2. Consider including a process-based audit. Refine the scope so you cover key elements to maximise time but doesn’t compromise on a good health check. Don’t attempt to cover every element or requirement, just the important stuff.
  3. Upskill and support people with training to conduct effective audits. This increases capacity, builds confidence, and assists the organisation back on track with their audit schedule. Plus rewards people with opportunities for professional development. Internal auditing isn’t the job of one person. Share the love and the workload.
  4. Keep it simple, be realistic. Don’t attempt to cover every aspect and requirement of your audit criteria if pushed for time. A short audit that covers key aspects of a procedure or part of a larger process can still identify the good things like gaps, risks, opportunities and compliance. A short but smart audit is always a good idea.

Post-audit, it’s important for the relevant people to undertake appropriate correction and corrective action.

Once you are back in the game, continue with the audit schedule. Audits have many benefits including enhancing communication and education around management systems. It’s a great tool to also education new employees to support them in understanding internal and external requirements, plus the importance of maintenance.

Finally, if you already have a team of trained auditors, why not facilitate a Gray’s Audit Skills Refresher course? This 1-day course can be tailored to communicate your organisation’s audit requirements and processes, in-house or online. It’ll help bring the band back together again with enthusiasm and commitment, whilst providing an opportunity to recalibrate the team to ensure consistency and enhance effectiveness of the audit process. This is a refresher for those who have already completed the 2-day Management System Auditing course and/or Lead Auditor.

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