How Internal Audit Procedures Can Boost A Company Bottom Line

Internal audit procedures are becoming increasingly important, for both internal audits themselves and the external audits which are increasingly mirroring their techniques. Audits can satisfy several functions, both in public bodies and corporate organizations. The most common use of an audit is to create a publicly available document which acts as third party verification of accounts. These are routinely used by investors to decide which of many companies to invest in. Audits are also used within a company to help managers make financial adjustments, and also to oversee business processes.

A financial audit can tell a company manager where money is being spent, and where it is being earned. It can show which departments are functioning well, and also which are not producing enough of a return. The manager can take this data and make the necessary adjustments, hopefully increasing the overall profit level of the company. The data can also be given, in full, to managers within each department. These managers, who will have a far greater knowledge of how an individual department operates, can then make their own changes.

The internal audit procedure can also include one or more process audits, which operate in a totally different way. A process audit is one which analyzes a set of actions within a company, which are designed to produce an overall objective. These process audits need to be carried out by someone who understands the individual process, rather than by an accountant. Each process audit can be carried out separately, or more than one audit can be carried out together, as results from one may influence the other.

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The way an internal audit is carried out should be documented in full so that it can be used over and over again. Any new personnel which come into the company are then able to look at the internal audit checklist and carry on as though they had been there for years. It is not always that easy to pick up the system at a new company, but it can certainly be done far more easily if everything is documented. There may be a need for a short training session with experienced employees briefing the newcomers, but after that everything should work well.

When internal audit procedures are tightly defined, creating the audit checklists is so much easier. The longer a company follows a certain way of operating, the easier it is to carry out the audits. When the audits determine that a new way of operating is likely to lead to improved efficiency, that fact will already be recorded. The record of the old audit will then help with the creation of a new auditing system. At this point, a manager can sit down, hopefully with a company committee, and work out new internal audit procedures.

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