What is the Difference between Agile Auditing and Auditing with Agility?

I'm often asked about the difference between Agile Auditing and Auditing with Agility. Both terms reference some sort of agility and auditing, so they've got to be the same thing, right? Not so fast. Although the difference in wording is minor, the difference in practice and delivery of value is immense.

Let's start with Agile Auditing. This is a methodology for conducting audits in sprints. It applies practices from Scrum, which was originally used in software development, to the audit process. While Agile Auditing can get audit results into clients hands sooner than a traditional waterfall approach (where one phase of the audit has to be completed before moving to the next), Agile Auditing requires auditors to apply the same approach to every unique situation. This will work exceptionally well in some situations, but it won't deliver the intended value in other situations. People often associate Agile Auditing with "doing" Agile, rather than being agile. Measures of progress often shift to outputs (e.g., number of Agile audits compared to traditional audits performed) rather than outcomes (e.g., increased value provided to the organization).

Auditing with Agility applies an agile mindset to the audit process by anchoring back to its three core components: value-driven auditing, integrated auditing, and adaptable auditing.

Each core component has a number of practices auditors choose from when determining an approach for an audit. The auditors consider a number of factors, including the desired outcomes of the audit, when selecting practices to incorporate on an audit. For example, if an audit team is auditing an area that is undergoing rapid change and they really want to provide real-time feedback on the most significant risks at that time, their desired outcomes may be:

  • Stronger alignment between audit activities and most relevant/emerging risks
  • Increased ability to respond to change
  • More timely communication of results

Now that the auditors know the desired outcomes for this particular audit, they'll select practices that will help them achieve those outcomes.

On a different audit, the desired outcomes may not be the same. Therefore, the auditors will want to be agile and select a customized audit approach that best fits the current audit and delivers the desired outcomes specific to this audit.

To bring it all home, there is a significant difference between Auditing with Agility and Agile Auditing. If you want to move from "doing" Agile to being agile and truly adding value to your organization, Auditing with Agility is the way to go.

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