Mary Breslin, CIA, CFE, Founder of Verracy
February 1, 2022
Three Reasons Every Audit Shop Should be Adding Agile Auditing to its Toolkit
Agile has been around for over 20 years but it has received more attention in the audit profession in the last 2 years than the prior 18 combined. Why is that? Three major reasons.
- Speed. Agile can deliver results faster than traditional audit approaches. Much faster. Traditionally, for the results of an audit to be seen as relevant and valuable they have to be timely. But what is timely? It depends on the organization. Generally, it means within the lifecycle of the organization or area being audited. Simply, how quickly things change. For example, in investment banking, an audit that takes 6 months, start to finish, will largely been seen as irrelevant because too much time has passed. For many government or manufacturing organizations, that same 6 months is still probably very relevant. So why does audit need to increase the speed at which they deliver results?
- Change. Every area of every business has had some form and degree of change in the last two years. And things are changing constantly and quickly for many organizations. With change comes an increase in risk. That increase in risk could be temporary while the business works through the change, or it could be permanent. Change could be intentional and a matter of record, or it could be something that happened to accommodate a disruption. It was never intended to be permanent but has now become the norm. Agile gives us the ability to get in quickly and assess the current existing risk levels. Prior risk assessments may no longer be relevant and cannot be relied on because too much has changed. Audit needs to move quickly to assess an area and move on to the next area if there isn’t significant risk. If risks observed do not have the potential to negatively and significantly impact the organization’s ability to meet its objectives, move on. Agile is designed for just that. Move quickly, focus on outcomes, and delivery value regularly.
- It’s cool. Agile is cool, trendy, hip, the “in” thing. No seriously. More and more organizations are adopting Agile methodologies in their technology departments but also in operational projects and improvements. Audit groups must overcome many barriers – language, trust, perspective, time etc. to add the value they are capable of. Knock down one barrier by using the tools and language of Agile to align yourself with the business. Using tools, approaches, and language the organization already uses makes you look less like an invading alien and more like a colleague. Sprint your way to success!
Agile can be added to a toolkit in multiple ways, from adopting the Agile mindset and some of the tools, conducting certain engagements with an Agile approach, to becoming an Agile shop and conducting all work through an Agile approach. And remember, Agile is a suite of tools, there are tools out there that will fit the culture, style and desire or every audit shop.
If you would like to learn more about Agile Auditing, Verracy offers training in various CPE lengths. Look for the course description in our Course Catalog at https://verracy.com/course-catalog/