Agile in internal auditing - but how do I approach it?

Right now there is a lot of interest in Agile Audit. So we are currently receiving many requests from various internal audit departments expressing interest in integrating agile working methods into their daily work. But how do I start the agile transformation in internal audit? What are the first steps? 

Develop agile basic knowledge 

To approach the topic of agile in audit, we always recommend first building a general basic understanding of agile. What does agile actually mean and what are the benefits of agile ways of working. Study the topic and do some research. We at borisgloger consulting offer a good overview of basic topics around agility on our blog. Of course, it also makes sense to get external expertise at the beginning. In most companies we start with a short 1 to 2 day Agile Intro Training, where the most important basics of Agile are taught. This also includes a first transfer to Agile in the audit.  

Problem and goal definition 

Once the basic understanding has been established, it quickly becomes clear that agility is not a goal in itself. Agility is rather a tool to solve problems or challenges or to achieve a goal. Therefore, make yourself aware of what you want to achieve with agility in the audit. Is it faster and more effective to risk mitigation? Or better to collaborate between auditors and the units being audited? Or do you just want to understand how the agile units you need to audit actually work and what to look for in the audit? 

Goal setting will especially help you decide which agile principles and practices you want to live or use more. In addition, it helps in communication. A common goal welds together and everyone becomes aware of why you are doing it. 

Network with like-minded people 

You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Network and talk to colleagues who are facing similiar challenges. As a first step you don’t need necessarily colleagues from internal auditing to exchange on this. Perhaps you know areas in your own company, that are already working agilely or are currently undergoing an agile transformation with whom you can network. For example, invite them to a keynote presentation where they can share their experiences.  

If you are already further along, it makes sense to talk to your peers. Especially in internal auditing, where many experiences with agility still need to be gathered, an exchange in the peer group helps to discuss cases together and share experiences. Perhaps you already know audit departments in other companies that are also undergoing such a transformation. If not, go to trade shows and talk to peers there. Find out which kind of experiences have been gained and learn from others' mistakes and successes.  

Start simple 

In the end, every company is different and you'll have to gain your own experience. It's best to start small and try things out. Find out what works for you and what doesn't. Be aware that change takes time. Not everything will go smoothly right away and one or the other experiment will fail. As it is always in unknown situations, it is a constant process of trial and error and learning. Demonstrate perseverance - it will be worth it. 
 

When it comes to getting started after building the base knowledge, we recommend starting with a pilot test that is as suitable as possible for agile ways of working. This allows you to try out the new methodology in a suitable environment to gain experience.   

We would also be happy to support you in setting up and implementing your first pilot projects. Finally, we and of course others will be happy if you share your experiences with us.  

Bildquelle: Scott Graham on Unsplash

Agile Toolbox
Audit
Finance
Agile Organization
Transformation
Sonja Eberle
October 12, 2022

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