Audit Presentation
ComplianceJuly 26, 2021

How to make internal audit presentation topics land more effectively

The content of internal audit presentation topics can only make a difference when conveyed in a clear and concise manner. Internal audit presentations to management and board audit committees need to distill complex topics into digestible points. Otherwise, too much tends to get lost in translation.

“We need to make it easy for busy executives to read, absorb, and act on the results of our work. Keeping things short and simple can help, but we also must organize our reports to make the most important ideas stand out,” notes Richard Chambers, an internal auditor, in a blog post for The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIIA).

So, as internal audit presentation topics pivot more toward areas like addressing these supply chain risks and the cybersecurity challenges that coincide with hybrid workforce models, internal audit leaders need to be mindful of how they package their findings together into an effective audit presentation.


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Simplify internal audit presentations

If you want to make an impact with your audit presentations, think small. It may sound like a paradox, but limiting the length of audit presentations can unlock greater results. Especially when adding new internal audit presentation topics that audit committees may be trying to grasp, less is often more.

Aim to only include the “need-to-knows” in the main presentation. Save the details for supplementary materials, or let management and/or audit committees know where they can go if they want to dive into more detail.

For example, when focusing on internal audit presentation topics such as cybersecurity, you might want to report on the overall trend of how your organization has been adapting to remote work and your top recommendations to address the associated cyber risks. Specifics like the number of endpoints in need of protection, a history of attacks within your industry, or a review of VPN vendors might be too in the weeds for the main presentation.

Keep the audit presentation simple to maximize the effectiveness of the takeaways.

Communicate consistently and efficiently

To help ensure that internal audit presentation topics land, audit teams need to not only simplify presentations but also work on communication overall.

First, internal audit teams need to communicate well across departments and with audit committees outside of audit presentations. For example, communicating with risk management and compliance teams ahead of time can be valuable. This type of combined assurance can minimize overlap among presentations so stakeholders don’t get overwhelmed. It can also be useful for clarifying what internal audit presentation topics should be included in reports to management and board committees.

Second, audit teams need to address the consistency and efficiency of their communication within presentations. Creating internal audit committee sample reports or templates can help audit teams streamline presentation development while also helping management and board audit committees know what to expect.

Also pay attention to the audience’s preferred communication methods. In general, breaking up text with charts, heatmaps and other visual representations can help make internal audit presentation topics land. But ask management and audit committee members what they specifically prefer so that you can deliver the presentation in a way they can retain information.

To that point, keep in mind that audit leaders don’t have to limit communication to the presentations themselves. Speaking with management and audit committees at other times, including in less formal settings, can help inform what should go into audit presentations while also preparing the audience for what’s to come.

Streamline internal audit presentations

Overall, simplifying reports and focusing on effective communication can go a long way toward more successful audit presentations. Audit leaders can also streamline the creation of audit presentations by using software like TeamMate+ Audit to collaborate with other stakeholders, establish a consistent audit methodology, integrate analytics into reports and more.


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