The operational auditing handbook : auditing businesses and IT processes
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This information helps us design a better experience for all users. There are potential drawbacks to the co-sourcing arrangement, however. Thomas and Parish cite staff worries over long-term job security, the possibility of "turf battles" between in-house auditors and vendors, and loss of in-house focus on "big picture" issues of company-wide profitability and efficiency as stumbling blocks.
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But they charge that "a cost-conscious, proactive internal audit group with custom-designed co-sourcing programs retains the advantages of outsourcing along with the benefits of having an in-house internal audit staff, such as knowledge of management methods, accessibility, responsiveness, loyalty, and a shared vision for the organization's strategic business goals. Various types of audits are used to achieve particular objectives. The types of audits briefly described below illustrate a few approaches internal auditing may take.
The Operational Auditing Handbook: Auditing Business and It Processes by Andrew Chambers
An operational audit is a systematic review and evaluation of an organizational unit to determine whether it is functioning effectively and efficiently, whether it is accomplishing established objectives and goals, and whether it is using all of its resources appropriately. Resources in this context include funds, personnel, property, equipment, materials, information, space, and whatever else may be used by that unit. Operational audits can include evaluations of the work flow and propriety of performance measurements. These audits are tailored to fit the nature of the operations being reviewed.
A system analysis and internal control review is an analysis of systems and procedures for an entire function such as information services or purchasing. An ethical business practices audit assesses the extent to which a company and its employees follow established codes of conduct, policies, and standards of ethical practices. Policies that may fall within the scope of such an audit include adherence to specified guidelines in such areas as procurement, conflicts of interest, gifts and gratuities, entertainment, political lobbying, ownership of patents and licenses, use of organization name, speaking engagements, fair trade practices, and environmentally sensitive practices.
A compliance audit determines whether the organizational unit or function is following particular rules or directives. Such rules or directives can originate internally or externally and can include one or more of the following: organizational policies; performance plans; established procedures; required authorizations; applicable external regulations; relevant contractual provisions; and federal, state, and local laws. A financial audit is an examination of the financial planning and reporting process, the conduct of financial operations, the reliability and integrity of financial records, and the preparation of financial statements.
The Operational Auditing Handbook: Auditing Business and IT Processes, 2nd Edition
Such a review includes an appraisal of the system of internal controls related to financial functions. A systems development and life cycle review is a unique type of information systems audit conducted in partnership with operating personnel who are designing and installing new information systems. The objective is to appraise the new system from an internal control perspective and independently test the system at various stages throughout its design, development, and implementation. This approach intends to identify and correct internal control problems before systems are actually put in place because modifications made during the developmental stages are less costly.
Sometimes problems can be avoided altogether. There is risk in this approach that the internal auditor could lose objectivity and independence with considerable participation in the design and installation process.
A program audit evaluates whether the stated goals or objectives of a certain program or project have been achieved. It may include an appraisal of whether an alternative approach can achieve the desired results at a lower cost. These types of audits are also called performance audits, project audits, or management audits. A fraud audit investigates whether the organization has suffered a loss through misappropriation of assets, manipulation of data, omission of information, or any illegal or irregular acts. It assumes that intentional deception has occurred.
Business consultants strongly encourage small business owners to establish self-auditing practices. Volatile interest rates, shrinking profit margins, and increasing operational costs are causing many businesses to reassess and upgrade their internal control procedures.
For a small business owner, knowing what areas to audit and where to commit resources is an integral part of the internal audit function. A long-range audit plan provides a complete view of audit strategy and coverage in relation to the relative significance of functions to be audited. The goal is to plan an audit strategy that is cost-effective and emphasizes audit projects that have high impact or address areas of significant risk.
An in-depth understanding of the organization and how it operates is a prerequisite for the audit planning process. Developing the plan first requires identifying and listing all auditable units or functions. This is frequently called the "audit universe. Based on perceived significance and estimated risk, the audit priorities and strategies are documented in the audit plan. Business owners and managers, however, should recognize that the internal audit process is not a static one. Its character and emphasis should adapt to the changes that take place in the organization over time.
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Departure of key people, changes in markets, new demographics, new competitors, and other factors can dramatically affect the operations of small businesses and other organizations. Organizational processes and existing internal control systems may become obsolete with new technology. Legal and regulatory environments change with the political winds. Consequently, risks and significance rankings, the audit universe, and audit strategies will change. The successful small business owner, though, will learn to anticipate such changes, and adjust his or her internal auditing strategies accordingly.
Hake, Eric R. September Moeller, Robert, and Herbert Witt. Brink's Modern Internal Auditing. Thomas, C.
Reflecting the strategic importance of information technology today, this second edition is considerably expanded in this area with leading edge material. Other completely new material includes clear, authoritative guidance on how to achieve effective of governance, risk management and internal control processes.
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