A brief guide to assignment quality
Quality control processes are important to ensure that all audit work is suitably undertaken, evidenced and supports the audit findings.
In accordance with professional standards you should ensure that the internal audit team has a suitable quality assurance and improvement programme in place; this should include elements such as:
- standards and methodology
- training, development and supervision
- assignment planning and resourcing
- communication and reporting
- review and improvement
All team members should be trained on the in-house working practice, working paper formats, reporting and approvals processes.
Working practices should facilitate review by management throughout fieldwork. All grades of staff should be suitably monitored with work signed off by their line manager. All assignments should be signed off in accordance with the team’s approval process, typically by the chief audit executive (CAE), prior to circulation as ultimately they are responsible for reports to management and audit committee.
The reviewer should follow the golden thread of evidence collected in the audit file to see if they arrive at the same conclusion and opinion as the individual undertaking the work.
Any review points should be formally recorded, actioned by the auditor and confirmed as completed in a timely manner to ensure that all audit products are delivered to a consistently high standard.
In some sectors, it is good practice and a requirement to periodically subject the internal audit department to an independent review process, known as an external quality assessment (EQA). An EQA is performed with specific focus on resources, competency and delivery. The EQA should be undertaken at least every 5 years.
Often departments will also be subject to peer review or other quality assurance arrangements (eg ISO audit) to ensure best practice is being consistently observed and applied. Out-sourced providers may be subject to further monitoring by their professional bodies.
IIA IPPF Standard 1300 – quality assurance and improvement