I'm often asked a number of questions about Auditing with Agility, and themes definitely tend to emerge with those questions. Here's one I get frequently:
Question: You focused on partnering with clients to perform work. In the audit context of working with stakeholders, what are some ways you’ve found success doing that while maintaining independence and objectivity?
Answer: This question comes up A LOT. When my team and I were beginning our journey, we asked the same question of ourselves too. Independence and objectivity are critical to internal auditors. So much so that both “independent” and “objective” appear right at the beginning of the Institute of Internal Auditors’ (IIA’s) definition of internal auditing.
To preserve independence, you’ll want to maintain separate administrative reporting lines. Internal audit should still report to the Audit Committee of the Board (or another similar independent reporting line). A strong partnership between auditors and clients can absolutely occur while maintaining independent reporting lines. Keep in mind that the IIA clarified in one of their guidance documents that to be independent does not mean that you have to be isolated.
To preserve objectivity, auditors must maintain decision rights. If through collaboration with audit clients, the auditors feel like they should include something in the scope of the audit, even if the clients suggest they not include it in scope, the auditors retain the right to include the area in the audit’s scope.
Don't forget to get your copy of Beyond Agile Auditing: Three Core Components to Revolutionize Your Internal Audit Practices today. It's available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook versions. Order here.