It's that time of year again...

... Annual audit planning season! Well, for some organizations it is. It's the time of year where audit organizations build out the list of areas they're going to audit throughout the next year and present it to the audit committee for approval.

Maybe this worked well in the past, but today, this annual planning ceremony is outdated and needs to stay in the past.

Today, things change way too quickly for us to set our plan in stone this far in advance. What is a priority today may not still be a priority a few months from now, let along 12 months from now. If we need to change the annual plan to account for a change in the environment, we typically have to get the audit committee's approval of that change. That's not very agile.

Instead, many organizations have moved or are moving to a rolling or ongoing audit plan, where they build agility into the audit plan. Using this approach, auditors build agility into the audit planning process by intentionally considering changes to the environment when building and modifying the audit plan. One way to do this is to build out multiple short-term audit plans (e.g., covering the upcoming 3 months) and seeking audit committee approval for each short term plan, multiple times throughout the year. This enables auditors to incorporate feedback from their clients throughout the year, as well as organization-level changes into the audit plan.

Using this adaptable approach to developing the audit plan, auditors proactively respond to changes impacting the organization and continuously focus on what's most important and relevant to the organization.

Failure to embrace changes may lead to outdated audit results that do not provide much value to the organization. Responding to changes as the need arises is imperative in today's ever-changing environment.

How do you incorporate agility into your audit planning process? Add your thoughts in the comments.