Becoming agile: Elevate internal audit performance

Innovating in internal audit to enhance collaboration and deliver timely insights

With increasing demands and shrinking resources, how can internal audit teams keep up? Deloitte’s Agile Internal Audit methodology could be the answer. The articles below offer a closer look at the basics of an agile approach, how internal audit functions can adopt this methodology and framework, and strategies for internal audit to advise on the risks of business agility.

Agile internal audit

Agile Internal Audit is the mindset an Internal Audit function will adopt to focus on stakeholder needs, accelerate audit cycles, drive timely insights, reduce wasted effort, and generate less documentation.

Agile prompts internal auditors and stakeholders to determine upfront, the value to be delivered by an audit or project. Agile also prioritises audits and projects based on both importance and urgency as well as readiness to undertake the work. Finally, reporting doesn’t focus on documenting the work but on providing insights.

An updated change methodology

Internal audit groups are continually challenged to provide more value to stakeholders while also facing resource constraints. Stakeholders are demanding more efficient assurance, better advice on processes and controls, and greater anticipation of risks.

Current efforts to address these challenges aren’t working—or aren’t working quickly enough. Internal auditors have tried to do more with less, but with the same basic approach to audit planning. They’ve applied data analytics, but usually to traditional fieldwork. They’ve tried to deliver more insightful reports, but without knowing enough about stakeholders’ needs and expectations. The list goes on.

Instead of sporadic initiatives and piecemeal solutions, internal audit departments need an updated change methodology. Such a methodology should take a global approach to driving value, accelerating cycle times, and enhancing deliverables.
The agile principles are one such change methodology. And in Deloitte’s view, the one most readily applicable to internal auditors’ current challenges.

Putting Agile Internal Audit into action

Adopting an agile business practise should begin with:

  • Aiming at a specific agile technique
  • Being flexible to change based on objectives and culture of the organisation
  • Executing the tailor made approach

Sometimes organisations use only certain specific approaches that lead people to believe that they are correctly implementing agile Internal Audit, which they are not. 

As a result, they may not get the benefits they expect from internal audit, which may lead to them blaming the methodology for not delivering the required targets.

In this article, explore insights from various companies that are on the same Agile Internal Audit journey.

The Journey to Agility

Internal auditors face a wide range of challenges. Yet the overarching theme for most internal audit groups is the need to change. An Agile Internal Audit approach provides methods that work to change both the mindset of internal auditors and their work processes.

To learn more about adopting an Agile Internal Audit approach, download the two PDFs above. Look out for part three, coming soon, which will focus on using an agile internal audit approach as a change initiative.

Considering adopting an agile mind-set? We should talk.

Agile methods have been useful in various initiatives in several business settings. Taking from and building on the original agile approach, Agile Internal Audit is a change in mind set of both internal auditors, as well as their business processes.
Agile is a change methodology for the internal audit group and its stakeholders. Internal auditors are spread across the entire organisation and affects all business functions that impact the organisation’s performance, which is what makes this even more crucial.

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