Managing audits is tougher than one would think. While audits themselves are tough, managing them all throughout the organization can be even tougher. There are solutions which help make the process more efficient, but before we look at how to improve audits it is important that we understand the problems that plague audits.
Obstacles to efficient audit management
There are many obstacles and challenges which keep the process from being efficient. Some of the problems commonly faced by audit managers include:
Audits are resource intensive
Auditing is not easy. It takes a lot of resources to carry out an audit. The audit manager must make their choices very carefully – they must make sure that the audits that may prove to be the most beneficial are carried out. Audits don’t just require monetary investment – they are also disruptive, because the auditor needs collaboration with someone in the department. This means that while the audit is going on, it isn’t just using the time of the people who are doing the auditing, the department that is being audited must also provide people. If you consider the amount of time the departments spend to make sure everything is right before the audit this equation gets even worse.
There is no escaping the fact that audits are a complicated process. Look at all that an auditor must do. First, they need to understand the scope of the audit. Once they understand the scope, they must understand the workflow of the department they are auditing. After that they need to request all the documentation they need for their audits and remember that the person sending them documents will also need some time to compile all the information required. All this severely complicates the whole process and removes the ability of the audit manager to control the process. The audit manager can control the efficiency of their department’s employees, but they cannot make people from other departments work faster.
Since audits take a lot of resources and are very complicated to carry out, the audit manager must limit their scopes. It is easier to complete an audit with limited resources if only the essential areas of the business are audited. While this may be useful from an efficiency standpoint, it can end up becoming a major problem for the business. Limiting the scope of the audit leaves more vulnerabilities, as there may be problems the management will never be aware of because their audits don’t cover the domain in which the problems occur.
No monitoring tools
An audit manager is responsible for making sure that all the steps of the audit process are being followed on time, but they have no way to confirm this information. They must manually get in touch with everyone to get updates, otherwise they would be in the dark. This is a major problem, which is why almost all audit management software solutions come with a method to track all audit related activities. How can we expect audit managers to track everything if they cannot even see what is going on in the organization?
Lack of collaboration
There’s an unfortunate perspective common among employees that auditors are to be treated as the enemy. People think auditors are trying to get them into trouble by finding faults in their work, which results in an adversarial reaction, which makes managing audits much harder. Audit managers need the collaboration of the whole organization to be able to efficiently carry out audits, but they seldom get it.
No follow-up tracking
The audit process does not end once the audit has been completed. The whole point of the audit was to find faults, based on which corrective actions are recommended. The audit will be considered useless unless the corrective actions are implemented, but audit managers often have no way to track the progress made on CAPA. They must manually get updates from different departments, which makes it harder to track problems and their resolution status.
Businesses need to make sure that the other departments are treating the audit department in a friendly manner and cooperating with them in every way. An audit management system can also really do wonders for the organization. Audit software tools codify the audit process which makes it easier for everyone to follow it and see the progress that has been made so far. It also allows businesses to easily track and monitor all audits, which makes the job of audit manager easier. These solutions are a common sight in industries where audits are commonplace such as finance and healthcare and are slowly making inroads into other corporate offices as well due to their usefulness.