What makes the integrated auditing so interesting?

It’s time for change. Starting this month, we have moved to the approach of integrated auditing in my country office; and as internal audit professionals, we are at crossroads than ever before. Traditionally, our focus was on examining financial systems and the financial records of a program or process. But, now we are moving towards a holistic approach.

This new approach of integrated risk based internal audits is helping our function to broaden our perspective by focusing on the entire gamut of risks encountered by the organization. Through such integrated audits, our objective is to achieve a more effective and efficient audit engagement with all our audit clients.

Integrated auditing approach has thrown us with wide array of opportunities as well as challenges. Some of the challenges which I foresee in this journey of transitioning from financial auditing to integrated auditing are as follows:

  • Understanding the need for increase in knowledge of staff on non-financial areas and augmenting oneself with additional skill sets
  • Developing a reasonable level of knowledge in ERM, risk identification, risk assessment and risk classification (Dealing with the unfamiliar areas that have not been traditionally reviewed will be a litmus test for my team)
  • Enhancing the knowledge of multiple audit techniques
  • And, the resultant changes that are to be done in the composition of the internal audit team

Some of the measures that are helping us in this transition to integrated audit approach:

  • Using the available resources and personnel from various departments who are experts to supplement and augment our existing audit resource knowledge. (In simple words, learning about the process and operations from the process owners themselves )
  • Learning to modify our perspective and think beyond the traditional audit scope.
  • Exploring the option of modifying the existing audit staffing plan.

With the management expecting continuous monitoring of our various area development programs and projects, the internal audit function decided to adopt integrated auditing. In the due course, this comprehensive approach is believed to increase internal audit division’s credibility and provide greater value addition to management in addressing its risk.

Developing the risk based audit procedure checklists, scoping mechanisms, audit testing methodologies, designing the engagement duration are some of the prioritized tasks in my function right now.

There tends to be certain amount of confusion or chaos while treading uncharted waters. But, this uncertainty is the element which makes the integrated auditing so exciting and interesting to me.


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August 2012
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