Every year, we publish a top ten list of our most popular documents, describe their value to subscribers, and explain why you should download and use them ASAP. It’s important to us to see what auditors in the trenches are working on, and make sure all of our readers know what resources are available.
This year, we wanted to shake things up a bit. We looked at the bottom of the downloads list rather than the top. There are a few really amazing documents that just don’t get enough attention, for one reason or another. Maybe the topics are those elusive “I’ll get to that later” projects which every auditor has sitting in their to do pile. Maybe it’s not clear exactly what these documents should be used for. Or maybe we simply haven’t done a good enough job promoting them. Well, that ends today!
The following are the underrated gems of The Audit Library. The documents you haven’t used yet, which will become your favorites in 2022!
Interview Guide and Notes Template
This document sounds basic, blah, boring, standard… What other bad names can we come up with?
In reality, this is an excellent document that every auditor should have on hand. You never know when the need for a fraud interview will pop up. Those days are stressful, and this handy tool is a lifesaver!
So what exactly is this document? The first portion is a table with spaces to input questions for your interview subject, and their answers. You’ll also be prompted to record the subject’s name, title, date of the interview, and name any witnesses. The template also prompts you to record your impressions of the subject; their demeanor, actions, verbal tics, etc. When the interview is over, determine your next steps and conclusions based on what you’ve seen and heard. You’re only as good as your documentation, and in a fraud investigation, documentation is critical!
The next section of the document includes a handy reference and practical tips. We go through how to setup and conduct the interview, note behaviors and deception indicators to watch for, and remind you how to talk to subjects for the best results. Having this information on hand for quick reference in your notes is invaluable, even if you are seasoned auditor.
Audit Committee Planning Tool
There is so much to say about this document. It is so practical, so thorough, so universal… And so underappreciated! If you have an audit committee (spoiler alert – you do) then this document is something your department should be using.
When I was working in the field, it amazed me how often I had to pull up my committee’s notes! To answer a question from a committee member, plan our next meeting, or answer a regulator’s questions about our work. Once, a committee member reached out and said they needed a report of their attendance for their employer. I started leafing through monthly minutes, and had a lightbulb moment… There must be a better way!
Download our spreadsheet, which can be used to plan your year of meetings in a snap. You can also keep track of your yearly progress easily and visually. It breaks your required tasks in to monthly, quarterly, annually, and as needed. There is also a tab to track attendance, so you can reference it quickly.
External Audit Assessment Surveys
The external audit is one of a company’s most critical and stressful tasks. Due to our position and the nature of our work, Internal Auditors are often expected to facilitate much of the engagement. Sending RFPs to firms, managing documentation requests, and setting up meetings and interviews are common examples.
When the audit is over, and the final report in hand, it’s no surprise that Internal Audit wants to move on to other important work. The Accounting department wants to move on too! But, there is an important and often neglected final step. While the audit process is fresh on everyone’s minds, you should be sending post-engagement surveys, gathering and controlling the results, and documenting everything. It’s a lot of work, but we have created tools to help!
Around the beginning of the fourth quarter 2022 when financial statement audits are wrapping up, I want to see lots of downloads for the following post-engagement surveys:
- Internal audit staff for bank, credit union, and general use
- Company personnel for bank, credit union, and general use
- Committee members for bank, credit union, and general use
Quality Assurance Self-Assessment Program
When I was filtering for low-download rates on documents, I was pretty surprised and disappointed that our Quality Assurance Self-Assessment Program doesn’t get much love. The IIA Standards require that all audit department perform an annual self-assessment, so I would hope and expect to have as many downloads as subscribers each year! Sadly, that is not the case.
Rather than wallow, I want to encourage all of you to tackle this project head on! Not only does this program meet an IIA requirement, it is a really good way to check in with yourself, your team, and your organization. A new year is a great time to reflect and take stock.
Risk Management Audit Programs
Risk is a topic that frequently comes up when talking to subscribers, organizations, and consulting clients. Auditors are struggling with risk! First off, check out this article I wrote about the Risk/Audit question if you need a refresher on what is, and isn’t, your responsibility when it comes to risk. Bottom line, audit is not responsible for risk in most cases. However, you are responsible for including risk in your audit universe and performing regular audits.
How to audit this area? It’s complicated because Risk Management is handled differently from company to company. Some companies have a formal Risk Management department. Download the Risk Management Department Audit Program for bank, credit union, and general use if you are in this lucky boat. For many companies, particularly small ones, this is not a formal department or function. Download the Risk Management Process Audit Program for bank, credit union, and general use if these are your circumstances.
Risk is a big topic, but one you are capable of tackling head on!
Anti-Fraud and Whistleblower Protection Policy
We provide a handful of policies for auditors, and this one just doesn’t get as many clicks as the others. Check it out for bank, credit union, or general use. It’s a great document, and will be a great addition to your company! While not all Internal Audit departments “own” the Anti-Fraud and Whistleblower Protection Policy, they should be included in it and part of the process overall.
The policy clearly defines fraud concepts and explains fraud detection and mitigation responsibility for employees, leaders, and auditors. It goes on to provide information about your whistleblower hotline, and penalties for abusing the hotline or making false reports. The time to get this type of governing document in place is right now. Do not wait until a major fraud occurs or an explosive whistleblower report is filed. Having policies in place makes your life easier when (not if) a fraud event occurs!
Corporate Culture Audit Program
This document in the “what even is this?!” category. A couple of years ago, we noticed that corporate culture was becoming a hot topic in the industry, and decided to provide auditors with a reliable program to follow. It wasn’t easy, we definitely had to think outside the box! But, the end result is easy to follow, practical, and definitely provides value. If you have a corporate culture audit on your radar, or even if you’re just curious what this might include, download the program for bank, credit union, or general use today!
I hope that this post inspires auditors to download some new documents, and take on interesting new projects, in 2022!