Agile audit methodology allows internal audit teams to increase efficiency, improve focus, foster greater collaboration, promote meaningful communication, and become more responsive to the needs of management and the board. This change in audit methodology helps internal audit departments better advance their mission to create and protect value within organizations.
Following the lead of the software industry, internal audit teams are quickly realizing the value of an agile approach. Because the traditional approach to audit is so deeply entrenched in the audit profession, implementing a change in methodology requires strong support, as well as a shift in mindset and processes. From the over 1,000 global responses to our Touchstone Insights for Internal Audit research, more than 70 percent of respondents say they are planning to execute or are currently executing an agile methodology. The global pandemic has driven teams who may not have had agile on their radar to move toward agile more quickly in response to the ever-changing risk landscape.
TeamMate+ has tools and capabilities that help audit teams on their journey to becoming more agile.
Continuously Update Risk
Risk is more dynamic than ever in changing world. The first step when adopting an agile mindset and approach is to continuously update your risk environment. TeamMate+ can intake risk data from multiple sources to inform the audit teams of changes in profile and/or historical risk ratings. This helps audit teams to understand and prioritize tasks to be addressed.
Maintain the audit backlog within the risk assessment
In an agile environment, the product backlog and the sprint backlog are the key artifacts. Translating this to the audit world, a risk assessment in TeamMate+ represents the product backlog as an “audit backlog.” Audit managers (product owners) identify potential audit projects and leverage continuous risk assessments to prioritize these audit projects based on the latest risk rating information. This risk information can come from completed projects or other custom measures using the TeamMate Data Exchange API.
The listing of rated and prioritized potential audit projects over a period of time is referred to as the audit backlog and can be rolled forward to create a continual audit backlog.
From here, audit projects are created based on priority and risk rating.
Agile audit departments understand the value of dividing the entire audit into several sections to be completed over a time-boxed period called a “sprint.” A sprint allows teams to quickly measure success, correct shortcomings, take in new and relevant information, and identify hurdles or roadblocks. This cycle results in timely audit insights for swift management action.
TeamMate+ enables internal audit teams to organize their work into sprints.. Think of each sprint as a a folder containing all items that need to be completed during the audit, such as objectives, risks, controls, and procedures. During individual sprint planning sessions, the scrum team (audit team lead) collects items from the sprint backlog and decides on a completion time frame by assigning the items to a specific sprint.
Understand context using hierarchical perspectives
As you are reviewing test procedures or issues in an agile audit, the Perspectives tool within TeamMate+ allows the audit team to arrange information so the most relevant information to the current task at hand, is easily visible.
A “sprint view” perspective can be configured using an existing hierarchical perspective that allows an audit manager (product owner) to quickly view folders for individual sprints and can drill down to view:
- State of the test procedure
- Due date and review due date
- Test results
- Issues raised relating to these tests
- Supporting documentation
The browser or hierarchical perspective above offers context to those test procedures. Flat perspectives offer a faster way to bring either only tests, risks, or issues into focus.
Sharpen focus with flat perspectives and filters
While actively reviewing or documenting the results of test procedures, reviewers or preparers want to use the quickest way to navigate to their assignments. For test procedures, reviewers or preparers can use a flat “test management” perspective to ignore the folders, parent risks, or controls, combined with a choice of filters available for every object or audit.
By leveraging perspectives in combination with filters, the team can quickly view test procedures assigned to a particular sprint, and/or a particular user, to quickly bring these into focus to continue working, or for discussion during sprint reviews.
Facilitate team communication with widgets
Agile daily stand-ups are intended to be quick and concise to quickly communicate progress, plans, and obstacles. TeamMate+ organizes your selected collection of widgets to help you track your work and progress. It also enables teams to leverage the power of charts during daily stand-ups, facilitating communication and collaboration.
Teams can visually understand the progress of testing or identify obstacles, such as document requests that have been sent but are still awaiting a response. By simply filtering for the audit and the relevant sprint, audit teams can find all the information needed for their daily stand-up ceremony. Several widgets can be created and used by the team. As the widgets are configured to reflect your department’s taxonomy, whether you are looking at a dashboard chart or reviewing the audit file, everyone is speaking the same language. TeamMate+ also allows your administrator to make custom URL widgets, as well as use other data visualization tools to communicate with your team.
Collaboration efficiently with Response Tracking
Finalizing audit recommendations in a timely manner is critical to preserve the value these recommendations offer to the organization. Previously, this process entailed a significant number of email messages and meetings to reach consensus, making the process inefficient. Agile teams strive to improve the audit cadence by grooming the audit backlog to prioritize work and dividing work into smaller, more manageable sprints. Finalizing management’s response to recommendations before commencing issue tracking is also needed to maintain this cadence.
With TeamMate+ response tracking, the audit team and business users can collaborate more efficiently and effectively to finalize issues and recommendations all within the solution.
The global pandemic only highlighted the need for organizations to quickly pivot towards an agile methodology. Implementing an agile audit methodology is a strategic decision of the Chief Audit Executive to ensure that an internal audit department becomes more efficient and dynamic, as well as better positioned to deliver value while supporting the strategic goals of the organization.
Agile audit teams can leverage these TeamMate+ features today to become more agile and with the confidence of richer functionality coming soon to enable you to execute an agile methodology and add value to your organization.
Wolters Kluwer TeamMate continues to lead the audit evolution based on our longstanding relationship with internal audit professionals across industries and across the world. Check out the Touchstone Insights for Internal Audit to learn more about how your peers view the current and future landscape of internal audit.