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Enhance the Effectiveness, Quality and Value of Your Internal Audit Function with a Quality Assurance Review

11.19.2019

Internal audit departments are instrumental in contributing to the wellbeing of an organization by influencing the effectiveness of its governance, risk management and internal control processes. Internal audit operations should comply with the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) as promulgated by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), as well as align with the strategies and objectives of the organization to focus on the highest risk areas and clearly communicate the results and impact of their work. A quality assurance review can help you be sure your internal audit activities conform with the Standards and provide value and risk protection to your organization.

Quality Assurance Reviews (QARs) assess conformance to the Standards and the effectiveness of an internal audit department's assurance and consulting services to the board and other senior executives of an organization. Leading organizations align their audit activities with the Standards which require an external assessment every five years to conform with the Standards.

QARs help organizations ensure conformance to the Standards and enhance the effectiveness, quality and value received from internal audit and ultimately serve to confirm whether the internal audit function is meeting the goals of the organization. Some questions to consider if you are assessing the effectiveness of your internal audit department include:

  • Is the internal audit function adding value to our organization?
  • Are metrics in place to evaluate whether the internal audit function is adding value? Has that value been well-defined?
  • Are our internal audit activities aligned with the goals of the organization?
  • Has leadership considered where internal audit should focus its efforts?
  • Has the internal audit department ever had an external assessment or review?
  • Have the leadership or the board for your organization seen a visible impact as a result of the internal audit function?

QARs should identify opportunities, offer recommendations for improvement and provide guidance to the Audit Committee, Executive Management, Chief Audit Executive (CAE) and Internal Audit staff for enhancing their performance. An experienced team of Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs) conducting a QAR will be able to go beyond assessing the effectiveness of the internal audit function and provide your organization with insights and advice on what other leading organizations are doing.

If you need assistance with developing an Internal Audit Quality Assurance and Improvement Program or have questions about conducting a QAR, please contact Ron Steinkamp, Advisory Partner, at rsteinkamp@bswllc.com or Keenan McKinney, Advisory Manager, at kmckinney@bswllc.com.

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