During Internal Audit Awareness Month, consider treating an audit like a dental checkup

Many companies fear the audit process. It’s not unlike the trepidation that people have with going to the dentist. For some business leaders, an audit equates to having root canal surgery.

In honor of May being Internal Audit Awareness Month, our goal is to give you a happy smile the next time your company encounters an audit. In fact, the business benefits of an audit track closely with the advantages of regular dental checkups.

If you do your regular checkups, dental visits aren’t so bad. The same is true with audits.
Twice a year dental cleanings, bitewing X-rays, and a visit with your dentist to check things out help you maintain healthy teeth and keep the focus on prevention.

If you do audits on a scheduled basis, they get easier. Audits provide that third and final line of defense in risk management. Audit findings are unbiased and authoritative, which provides valuable intelligence for the business to make smarter decisions.

You’re in capable hands at the dentist. At work? Rely on your audit committee.
Even if you’ve done the regular checkups and followed dental office recommendations, a cavity can sneak up on you, a crown or bridge can become necessary, or it can be something else. It happens. The point is, you’re in the right place, the dental office, to get it taken care of.

When auditors reveal problem areas, they’re indicating what needs to be addressed to meet a standard and operate optimally. When it’s an internal audit in advance of an external audit, the internal audit findings can be invaluable. The business can address issues before the external audit. The result? Smoother external audits.

Brush and floss in between dental visits. Responsibilities are similar between audits.
Dentists send you home with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. The message is clear. Take care of your teeth until the next checkup. It’s your responsibility.

Audit findings couldn’t be clearer. The work papers present the evidence. It’s up to the business to work through the findings and change processes, if necessary, before the next audit.  

Dentists use laser technology. For audit management, rely on a GRC platform
When people fear going to the dentist, they usually envision drills and pain. Dentistry has come a long way in terms of technology used. Most dentists use laser technology for fillings, provided that cavities are small and addressed early.  

With audits, much of the fear and loathing is magnified by the use of spreadsheets to document and present evidence to auditors. It’s tedious, labor intensive work — much like pulling teeth. Fortunately, like dentistry, audit management has its own technology — a governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) platform. Using a GRC platform can organize the data collection and collaboration required for compiling audits. It also allows for automatic assembling of work papers, processing of findings, assessing of audit risk, monitoring of time and expense, and reporting on audits. The documentation and due diligence provided by a GRC platform streamline the entire auditing process.

Whether it’s going to the dentist or facing an audit, there’s nothing to fear. With either, the greatest benefit is doing what is recommended, addressing issues early, and using technology designed for the task at hand.

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