The internal audit function’s position within a company is unique. It provides its principal stakeholders (audit committee members and management) valuable and objective assurance on governance, risk management and control processes, as well as consulting services to improve operations. With this critical responsibility to fulfill, implicit in executing those duties is internal audit’s continuous improvement to its own practices.
Chief audit executives and audit teams may be comfortable with the fact that their approach to audit committee reporting has followed the same unwavering path for the past decade. But are they shortchanging themselves by not communicating results as clearly and engagingly as possible?
Three Protiviti executives – David Brand, managing director, Chicago; Jason Maslan, director, Chicago internal audit practice; and Ari Sagett, director, Chicago internal audit practice – addressed the all-too-frequent issue of stale audit committee reporting by offering some eye-opening leading practice examples in a recent webcast.
“I think it’s always good for companies to push themselves and try to do different things that might be of interest to the board – all within the charter of the audit committee and the internal audit charter,” Brand said during the webcast.
Because companies differ, examples cited in this article won’t necessarily fit every organization, though they represent a treasure trove of good ideas that internal audit departments might tailor to their own situations.
TYPICAL QUARTERLY CONTENT
A dashboard report on current activities needs to tell the committee what internal audit (IA) is doing and why, changes to the annual plan (if any), current status of the audit plan, and critical findings or emerging trends.
In January 2013, healthcare provider organizations bid farewell to an era defined by uncertainty, at least with regard to healthcare reform, and ushered in an era that may very well be defined by volatility, at least in terms of internal systems, processes and procedures. If this assessment is an exaggeration, it is only a slight one. After all, one of the primary sources of uncertainty – whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would be implemented – was resolved in 2012, following the Supreme Court's monumental decision regarding the law's constitutionality.
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