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Maintaining Quality in Understaffed, Overworked Audit Departments

Audit departments have long faced the challenging task of assessing detailed internal control requirements while delving into financial, process, project, system, performance, and compliance controls. Today, with increasing regulations and heightened awareness of enterprise risks, internal auditors face ever more complex planning, preparation, execution, reporting, and followup requirements – making an already difficult job even more challenging.

Additionally, many audit departments find themselves understaffed, with more audit requests than they can reasonably handle. Under such pressures, managers must focus on projects covering risks most critical to the enterprise. Another challenge auditors face: maintaining audit quality during execution. This includes supporting overall audit standards, work paper management, and reporting.

To keep up with demand and ensure quality in the face of these complex challenges, auditors need to improve productivity while accelerating documentation, testing, approval routing, and reporting.

Using Automated Solutions to Increase Audit Quality and Productivity

A number of innovations can fundamentally change the way internal auditors work. Risk-based audit planning focuses limited resources on the projects that matter the most. And automated and standardized solutions, workflows, and templates can help focus staff on what really matters, streamline manual processes, and speed issue resolution and audit completion.

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Focus on what really matters. Ideally, your audit department will focus on those operations that present the greatest risk to ongoing financial performance. To assess risk for planning and scoping, management must accurately identify and assess a range of risk factors. A solution integrated with governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) systems can fully support risk-based audit planning and help management focus limited resources on what really matters to the business.

Streamline with standardization. To maintain audit quality, develop and use standardized templates and forms to create consistent audit documentation and testing procedures.

Report on status in real time. Build individual audit methodologies, then report on audit status and track activity in real time during all phases of an audit. Additional ad hoc queries can support audit preparation or analysis.

Staff audits efficiently. You need a solution that can automatically identify staff availability and match qualifications and other key attributes to each audit request. Efficient resource allocation leads to more effective management of valuable skill sets while reducing costs.

Reduce redundancy. Capturing existing GRC data on manual and automated test results, then integrating those results into work papers, cuts out extra work, saving time, effort, and money.

Speed issue resolution. Automated issue tracking and escalation helps ensure rapid issue resolution and on-schedule deliverables. Highly qualified internal auditors can focus on strategic objectives, rather than spending time on manual issue tracking and resolution.

Want to Learn More?

SAP offers a full range of solutions that can help you adopt risk-based audit planning, automate and streamline critical audit workflows, and integrate control testing throughout all business processes, helping improve overall risk management.

To learn more about SAP solutions for GRC click here.

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