When I look at the IIA’s Mission of Internal Audit, I believe that how we communicate, and how often we communicate, is critical to achieving this Mission:
“To enhance and protect organizational value by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice, and insight.” IIA - Mission of Internal Audit
As an agile coach, I’ll often joke that I simply earn a living from asking people to talk to each other. There’s definitely truth in that, as the real challenge in internal audit is better communication and doing more of it.
Let’s start with our communication with audit clients, business leaders and other stakeholders.
Auditors need to be accountable for delivering value (assessment of risks aligned with strategic imperatives), but require value in return (input, information, access) from their auditees, business leaders, and other stakeholders.
It’s a value exchange and I think it’s strongly net positive for internal audit as everyone involved benefits.
Agile audit delivery means sharing our observations or findings as we go, undertaking a value exchange, every week or two, in rapid cycles or Sprints, rather than at the end of the audit.
It’s imperative that it’s an exchange, not simply a tell. Think about communication being a two-way value exchange, not a one-way push. We need to gather insights, encourage and solicit feedback. As auditors we must practice deep listening, to fully understand, not to respond. It’s a conversation, not a sell.
That example is arguably the most important value exchange, so let’s explain that and also look at others throughout the audit workflow or process: