how to write a good audit report

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How to write a good audit report

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Make the audit finding statements clear and concise. Write the findings without emotion or feeling words so that the audit report is fact-based. The audit finding must be written concisely with clear statements that relate back to the observation because the audit report may be reviewed weeks later. Although it may not be directly related to the writing of an audit report, the timely distribution of the audit report is still an important aspect of the audit process.

A great audit report is one that is sent in a timely manner to the auditee whether it is an internal or external audit report. A good rule of thumb is to send the audit report within five to 10 working days. Beyond 10 working days the recipient may not take the audit report seriously. In fact, audit reports that are not sent to external parties in a timely manner lose much credibility for the organization.

When a great audit report has been written, make sure this is also sent promptly to have the most benefit. To write a good audit report takes practice. To write a great audit report takes much more practice. Hopefully the discussion presented in this article will help bridge that gap to present much better audit reports, be they for internal or external audits.

Before you begin writing the audit report think about your intended audience. Use standard templates for the audit report to stay consistent while providing the correct information to the auditee each time. Ensure that the audit findings are clear and concise to convey the appropriate level of detail.

Then make sure that the audit report is sent in a timely manner so the audit does not lose its priority. Richard A. He is responsible for the implementation of quality systems, conducting quality system audits, training on quality system tools, and providing regulatory expertise in national and international regulations.

Vincins has more than 20 years of experience in the medical industry, including worldwide regulatory compliance efforts for in-vitro device, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Menu Skip to content. Communicating the results of an audit is just as important as performing it. Here are some ways to get your point across effectively in your audit report. Vincins Preparing for and conducting an audit are the initial components of the audit process; writing a good audit report is the final step. Know your audience One of the more difficult aspects of writing an audit report is understanding your intended audience.

Use a standard templates for your audit report Another way of writing great audit reports is to standardize them, which can be accomplished through using templates. Generate a clear and concise list of findings The list of findings in the audit report needs to be generated at the appropriate level for the recipient and provide enough detail that the finding is understood.

Internal audit report: There is no evidence of employee training as there was no training record completed for the quality system procedures. According to the training chart, form 6. External audit report: There is no record that employees have been trained on their specific job functions.

Without a record to show that employees are properly trained, the quality of the product cannot be fully assured. The training must be completed to support that the products of Company X are made consistently to specification. Timely distribution of the audit report Although it may not be directly related to the writing of an audit report, the timely distribution of the audit report is still an important aspect of the audit process. But the ultimate objective of internal audit reporting is not to describe what we found or to make recommendations for improvement.

It is to persuade readers to take action. Impact is imperative, but not all internal auditors realize the difference that writing style can make to ensure corrective action is complete and timely. The content of a report informs readers, but I would argue that writing style is what motivates.

For example, when the U. Army tested two versions of a business message asking readers to perform a specific task, those who received a well-written, "high impact" letter were twice as likely to comply with the memo on the day they received it.

During my career as an internal auditor, I wrote or edited hundreds of internal audit reports — some that were good, and some that could have used another round of edits. Following are some recommendations that can help ensure your audit reports are effective — that they will not only change minds but that they will create a call to action that gets results. If you've taken a look at the Justice Department inspector general's IG's report on how federal officials handled the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state, you'll see it is strikingly different from the average internal audit report.

It contains more than a quarter-million words, and the recommendations don't start until about page I am not opining on the report's findings or the politics still swirling around it. As a former IG, I can appreciate the need for detail. The scope of the review was daunting, the issues were complex, and every aspect of the engagement was surrounded by controversy. But it's always important to keep the readers in mind, and the style that works for a major IG investigation probably would be inappropriate for your internal audit department.

Trying and failing to read the IG report in a single evening reminded me of the words of the great Winston Churchill, who said, "This report by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. The lessons for internal auditors: 1 Internal audit reports are most persuasive when they are tailored to our stakeholders' needs; and 2 if we overwhelm our readers with too much information, our reports will have less impact.

If a word, idea, or sentence does not contribute directly to the point, consider eliminating it. The best internal audit reports express big ideas in small words, never small ideas in big words. Our writing is most persuasive when we use clear, direct, and familiar language. There is compelling evidence that plain language is more likely to be read, understood, and heeded in much less time.

In , the U. Navy conducted a study of officers who read business memos written either in plain English or in a bureaucratic style. Officers who read the plain memo:. Many internal auditors use tools such as the Flesch Reading Ease or Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level tests to determine whether their reports are readable. Those tests are available online at no cost, or if you prepare your reports using Microsoft Word, you can choose to display information about reading level when you finish checking the spelling and grammar.

The lesson for internal auditors: There's a reason you rarely see bureaucratic language or legalese in marketing materials: Plain language sells ideas better. Even if all of your stakeholders are capable of reading and understanding a doctoral dissertation, that doesn't mean they will want to. Your writing is more likely to be persuasive if it is not pompous, unnecessarily complicated, or loaded with technical jargon. We need to make it easy for busy executives to read, absorb, and act on the results of our work.

Keeping things short and simple can help, but we also must organize our reports to make the most important ideas stand out. Message-style headings, subheadings, and call-out boxes can bring attention to the most important information in your report.

Don't hesitate to use examples, tables, color, charts, or pictures to clarify and add emphasis to important issues. For longer reports, an executive summary is essential. The lesson for internal auditors: Different stakeholders have different needs, so we need to help individual readers access the specific information they need.

Our writing won't be persuasive if key messages are lost in the details. Ever received a resume or business proposal that contained spelling or grammatical errors? You probably thought twice about seriously considering the individual or company that sent it. The same goes for your audit report. If it contains misspellings or incorrect grammar or punctuation, readers may get the impression that you are not detail-oriented or, worse, careful about your work.

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Write Highly Effective Internal Audit Report- The Common Elements Of An Internal Audit Report

They should be listed together under a lead statement such understand what an internal audit who has received or is important and how to prepare. The report should be written not be independent or there to make sure the audit. Subscribe to our Newsletter and get content about corporate management's. What was included and not. This section must include: A task is making recommendations for. If so, please take a of operation was found" say conducted according to government standards. Part 3 of An audit report typically ends with results the reader of any background for improving the entity audited. In interest of clarity, opt special, key, and reasonable as. By clicking the button below, you confirm that you have audited, objectives, scopes, and time. Before you begin writing this of headings, marked by Roman are concerns with the auditee.

Scope and objectives (must). Results (must). Recommendations and action plans (must).