Setting up an Internal Audit Operation
Setting up an internal audit department from scratch is best done by internal auditors who have not only gained sufficient practical experience in carrying out audits themselves, but who have also been involved in advising other internal auditors on the latest thinking and methods in the field. We use networkers who are more than just auditors, they are also consultants. We do not believe that inexperienced personnel can be entrusted with this task.
Our approach to setting up an internal audit facility is to proceed according to a pre-defined process that has been broken down into stages. As each milestone is reached, we check that all intermediate objectives have been achieved. We closely involve personnel who will be responsible for internal audit throughout all planning and implementation phases so that they have the opportunity to exert an influence at any stage. This is one of the many ways in which we create transparency.
Our overall spectrum of services includes putting the necessary audit mechanisms in place, defining the main audit processes (while adhering to the quality criteria set out by the EFQM model) and putting together the tools that will be used by internal audit. It is, of course, important at this stage that we have a clear idea of the expectations of those who will be receiving the audit reports. With this knowledge, we are able to either gear the audit arrangements accordingly or, if necessary, work toward refining these expectations in line with a best practice solution. This is a delicate process requiring a high degree of specialist expertise and experience.
Our spectrum of services specific to the setting up of internal audit operations is comprehensive and not limited to simply compiling process descriptions. We can do much more than put the necessary audit tools in place; we can also help you select suitable employees either in-house or externally. We generate a job profile that details all the knowledge and skills (specialist, methodic, social and personal) that are required for each position, then we conduct the interviews and help you with the decision making process.
For smaller operations, it is important to strike the right balance between internal and external audit functions. Besides the issue of quality, the cost effectiveness of various alternative solutions must be carefully considered. Partnering models have generally been found to result in significantly more efficient (and therefore lower cost) audits than rival approaches. To what extent external partners should be involved is always dependent on the type of business. We can help by advising you on the ideal mix.