Best of The Audit Library 2023: Honoring the Tried and True

2023 was an amazing year at The Audit Library! Among many big projects and initiatives, we added a lot of new content for our bank and credit union subscribers. While it is important to me that the Library continues to grow, for this year’s “best of” I want to pay tribute to some of our very first documents that have been available since day one, and updated every year. I’ll share my favorites here.

For those of you who are one of our newer subscribers, or who haven’t heard about our humble beginnings, let me take you back in time a bit.

In 2014, I was working at a credit union, and had recently been promoted to the chief audit executive role. I was overwhelmed and stressed by the work load, and unimpressed with what the market had to offer. My team and I wrote our own audit programs, department governing documents, workpapers, spreadsheets, memos, letters to regulators, and so much more. I love writing, but between managing a team, looking for fraud, and attending to my committee’s needs, I didn’t have a lot of time left to do it properly. The websites offering solutions were hard to use, expensive, and didn’t understand the financial services industry.

In 2017, I called my friend and former co-worker John Kaneklides, and explained an idea I had. A website where auditors could download whatever they needed for a reasonable fee. The end users were just like us; auditors at community banks and credit unions. John loved the idea, and encouraged me to think even bigger… but that’s a story for a different post. For now, let’s end this tale by saying we got to work, one critical document at a time, and the site you see now is the result of over five years of our hard work and collaboration.

I can’t tell you how valuable this website would have been to me if someone had created it when I was in your shoes, dear readers! While much has changed around here, this post is about the oldies and the goodies. I’ve included links so our paid subscribers can download them with one click. If you are not yet a paid subscriber, be sure to check out our subscription offerings and join us in the New Year.

Risk-Based Audit Plan Template with Timesheet

This spreadsheet template does so much that it’s often treated with suspicion by our subscribers and consulting clients. Yes, it is possible to accomplish audit budgeting, time tracking, and reporting using only Excel.

So how does it work? Start with the “Budget” tab, and schedule all the available hours for your year. Then, assign each team member a timesheet tab, and save the spreadsheet on a secure shared drive. Have the team fill out their hours daily. Then, every month you can use the “Summary” tab to report your results, including team and individual productivity rates, and realization for each project, which calculates automatically. If you’d like to get a little more background on these metrics, and why they are important, check out a blog post I wrote on the subject.

Here are some links:

  • Risk-Based Audit Plan Template with Timesheet for One Staff (bank or credit union)
  • Risk-Based Audit Plan Template with Timesheet for Two Staff (bank or credit union)
  • Risk-Based Audit Plan Template with Timesheet for Three Staff (bank or credit union)
  • Risk-Based Audit Plan Template with Timesheet for Four Staff (bank or credit union)
  • Risk-Based Audit Plan Template with Timesheet for Five Staff (bank or credit union)

Audit Risk Suite

This series of documents has been a game changer for countless subscribers over the years. If you do not have a formal risk function at your organization, you still need to assess risks in order to build an audit plan that conforms to IIA Standards. Our documents have you covered!

Start with the survey which can be sent to leaders of your company. Then, use our control log to manage the sending and receipt of surveys, and the risk assessment template to easily tabulate results. If you risk rate branches differently than other items in your audit universe, there is a separate risk assessment that is branch focused. We even included an overview and instructions document to guide you.

Here are some links:

Internal Audit Policies and Procedures

Back in the early days of The Audit Library, it was very important to me to have policies and procedures auditors need available on the website. I struggled to write governing documents when I was an audit leader working in the field, and I can still feel the frustration that bubbled up when the internet sent me in all sorts of different directions on policy/procedure requirements. I wanted ours to be simple, thoughtful, and meet all the requirements. The end result delivered, and has helped many auditors.

If you don’t have a department policy or procedural document, or think yours could be improved, be sure to download our Internal Audit Policy (bank or credit union) and Internal Audit Procedural Manual (bank or credit union). As with any document, you will have to put in a little work to make yours specific to your department and organization. But having a professional lend you a hand, as we have done, is a game changer!

Internal Audit and Audit Committee Charters

If you’re reading this, you need a charter. If you’re an internal auditor, the IIA Standards require this. If you’re a committee member, your bylaws and regulators require this. But beyond requirements, this is just good practice!

When I was writing my own department and committee charters back in the day, I went on a wild goose chase. The internet offers a lot of examples of charters, but little guidance on what should and should not be included therein. Again, I can recall feeling so much frustration during this time. I was trying to figure out the best way to meet the Goldilocks rule and include enough detail within our charters… but not too much! I’m proud that our website has saved a lot of you from this struggle, and encourage everyone reading to take a look at what we offer.

Here are some links:

Audit Programs You NEED!

We started The Audit Library with many critical audit programs, and even though we offered a lot, we continue to offer more. Why? Because the audit world is always changing. So, whether you are one of our original users, or brand new to the site, we encourage you to read our newsletter and browse the Library to keep up with these offerings.

And as much as I love creating new content, I really love audit programs that have stood the test of time. Here are some of my favorites:

  • The Employee and Official Expenses Audit Program (bank or credit union) has guided auditors over the years. Most of our subscribers perform this work on an annual basis, and rely on this classic document.
  • The Vendor Management Audit Program (bank or credit union) has consistently performed as a top download from our launch. It is an area that always ranks as high-risk, and yields a lot of audit findings.
  • The Social Media Audit Program (bank or credit union) takes a topic that affects us all and breaks it down into auditable steps. Auditors always come away from this project with a new found understanding of the risks and benefits social media brings, and that’s a good thing!
  • The Terminated Employees Audit Program (bank or credit union) is a guide for an area that causes so much stress and heartbreak. When you are auditing a highly sensitive area, having tools to help really makes a difference.
  • Finally, the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Audit Program (bank or credit union) rounds out my top five. One of the professional challenges that I love is looking into an area that affects an entire organization. This is where internal auditors shine. Download this guide today, and you will surely provide your organization a lot of value by following our easy steps!

Ask me for my five favorite audit programs next year, and I’m sure I’ll have a completely different answer. And that’s because The Audit Library just has so much to offer! But for now, that is my best of 2023.

Thank you all for your continued support, and we look forward to serving you in 2024!

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