Principles and approach

Introduction

Ensure you have the right number of people with the right skills and behaviours:

  • The audit universe including man-days and average frequency should provide you with your annual man-day requirement
  • The target efficiency percentage (audit work charged to actual time at work), together with average leave figures and work to be outsourced or co-sourced, will give you your required full time equivalent (FTE)
  • Analyse your audit universe and current team for specialist skills (IT, treasury, risk, etc) and audit skill level, providing a gap analysis against requirements
  • Make effective use of performance agreements, training plans, career plans and succession plans (targets in performance agreements should flow from key performance indicators (KPIs)).

Sufficient budget

Ensure you have sufficient budget to provide reasonable assurance:

  • Phase your budget appropriately and monitor it monthly
  • Ensure you include appropriate provision during plan changes for: IT (software licences, upgrades); training; third parties (co-sourcing); travel and subsistence
  • Periodically benchmark audit salaries to ensure you retain and attract people
  • Escalate to the audit committee if you don’t feel your budget is sufficient.

Outsourcing/co-sourcing

Maximise the value of outsourcing/co-sourcing arrangements:

  • Re-tender for specialist work periodically using specified requirements
  • Involve your legal department to ensure a robust contract is in place with: clear requirements; activity you don’t expect to pay for; confidentiality agreements; data security requirements; ownership of intellectual copyright and working papers; dispute resolution process; and exit terms
  • Involve your procurement team in selecting partners and negotiating terms
  • Establish a service level agreement and call-off forms for each assignment.

Optimising IT

Ensure you’re working efficiently by optimising your IT:

  • If the size of department warrants it, consider audit automation software
  • For analysing large volumes of data, consider audit interrogation software
  • Support the IT investment with training and procedures.

Knowledge management

Acquire and manage knowledge effectively:

  • Establish what knowledge is required, both technical and about the business
  • Map this to knowledge available within the team and address gaps
  • Establish what knowledge should be documented and what recorded on a plan.

Hints and tips

Multiple-choice questions