Challenges that Internal Auditors face and how to mitigate them
Internal Auditors have come a long way from being checklist users and purveyors of standard substantive testing. The growth of the Internal Audit function has blossomed, and they have now stepped into advisory roles that help foresee potential risks and assess controls. Models have also been developed to help Internal Auditors focus on high-risk areas where the return of reviewing these processes is much higher. The more Internal Auditors focus on high value areas and move away from standard tick-in-the-box approaches, the more they require a higher skill-set and more time to understand the processes and areas of improvement. As a result, Internal Auditors need to focus on the audit, and admin duties need to be reduced as much as possible. This will not only help auditors focus on their key strengths, organizations will save money since they are a skilled and expensive resource.
How much time do admin tasks actually take?
Our recent industry survey suggested that an Internal Auditor who does more than 15 audits per year spends 20-37% of their time managing data and analyzing it. This is a conservative estimate. Most of the data management is done through maintaining multiple Excel files as well as maintaining information received through numerous emails. While some larger organizations can afford the fees of a customized internal audit management solution, they are not a feasible option for many companies.
In contrast, off-the-shelf solutions have limited functionalities in order to be offered at a lower price. They still require a server and an administrator and do not provide all the functionalities that an organization needs, or at least in a way the user needs. As a result, users are forced to maintain a number of reports and functionalities outside the software in Excel files. This “manual” work leaves staff with a vast amount of data processing which could be avoided through a custom solution.
Are custom solutions the answer?
Historically, custom solutions were built and implemented for clients with larger budgets, however they took extensive amounts of time to be implemented. Once done, the solution required servers and administrators to manage it and address day-to-day operations. Furthermore, training and learning would take between 6-18 months including the frustration and inconvenience of ramp up time. Bearing this in mind, many Heads of Audits, have avoided investing in a custom audit solution.
What characteristics embody an effective Internal Audit Management Solution?
An efficient system is meant to manage and document Audit Planning, Field Work and Reporting as well dissemination of Audit Findings and Action Plans. Historically, communication between Audit and Finding Action owners was maintained in inboxes. When the status of Audits, Findings and Action Plans were required, emails were sent and data was compiled to update senior management and other internal and external stakeholders. This would include extensive follow-ups and data processing. By the time all of the data was summarized, the information was outdated. A good software solution addresses these issues, provides solutions to communicate and documents everything within the system. Furthermore, it should be accessible to senior management with just a few clicks.
How Adlar Group can help
Adlar Internal Audit System is a cloud-based solution that is economical and can reduce the workload of an average audit team by 25%-30%. The solution maintains audit trails for all activities from Risk Assessment, Annual Planning, Audit execution, Findings, Action Plans and communicates between auditors and auditees in closing findings and action plans. All communication and data is maintained within the system making it easy to retrieve information at any given time. Adlar Group also provides server management at an economical price which mitigates the requirements for an in-house server or IT Administrator. Its simplicity of use reduces training time for auditors and allows them to focus on their key role- auditing. With an internet connection, you can be up and running quickly. You can access the platform anytime, anywhere and you’re team is all set!
For more information, or to book a free demo, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our integrated risk management page.