How Often Should Internal Audits Happen?

Published by Macy Sears on October 25, 2021

Auditing Fundamentals

An internal audit is an assessment of an organization’s internal controls, accounting processes, and corporate governance. It provides an inside look into the firm’s current operations and helps to identify compliance issues. 

The internal auditing process can be done using a company’s own in-house resources or a third party. While one may think bringing in an external vendor could be safer and more efficient, it does have its drawbacks. Third-party auditors will lack familiarity with your business model, staff, and daily operations. Outsourcing also requires management to construct a comprehensive engagement letter, identifying the scope of the services. The decision to leverage a third-party ultimately depends on the unique needs of a business.  

Although every internal audit is unique, the methods are similar and generally consist of four phases; Planning, Fieldwork, Reporting, and Follow-up.

At the end of the day, audits are designed to help. So, why do they tend to send an office into a panic?  Or, even worse – why are companies avoiding them?

Let’s be honest, traditional internal audits can be quite time-consuming and disruptive. They often require the involvement of multiple departments, and sometimes the blame game happens. Companies even put them off because they are intimidated by the process.

However, choosing to not perform internal audits can create operational, financial, and security risks.  

Compliance features for internal audits

Making Internal Audits Easier

If we can’t avoid them, let’s make them easier to perform.

In order to simplify audits, start by considering the effectiveness of current processes. If staff members are put into a frenzy with the mere mention of an audit; then find out why and work to change that process.

Do managers feel pressured to know the details of their employees’ access at the last minute?  If so, consider modifying how managers review their teams’ roles. Sentinel empowers managers to review their employees’ PeopleSoft access online, and at any time. This allows managers to consistently keep up with the reviewal process, rather than a rush to complete prior to an audit. 

Internal audits also become easier to perform with the proper tools for success. This can come in many forms but often relates to audit reports. As auditors are doing their due diligence, they’re cross-referencing access with many different reports. 

Sentinel is delivered with best-practice audit reports for PeopleSoft. This includes a report of users with access to sensitive data, restricted roles, correction access, and segregation of duties. These reports can be accessed on-demand, without the need for manual queries. What’s even better? – Sentinel’s audit reports are in real-time! 

Want more tips on how to make internal audits easier? Check out these 5 important PeopleSoft Security Audit Checks.

Configure or customize controls in Sentinel to suit your PeopleSoft audit reporting needs.

How Often Should Internal Audits Happen?

Now that we understand the importance of audits and how to make them easier, let’s talk about frequency.  

There aren’t any hard rules on the frequency of internal audits, but experts recommend completing them no less than on an annual basis.  

Audits can be performed monthly, quarterly, twice a year, or once a year, depending on the nature of the business. You may even have a set of internal controls that are audited on a weekly or even daily basis. High-risk processes should always be audited more frequently.

Making internal audits a regular practice can help lower risks and compliance issues. There’s also no need to audit all processes or departments at once. That would be exhausting! Focus on creating an evenly spaced-out auditing schedule to stay on track throughout the year. 

Every business should establish plans and procedures for conducting internal audits. Getting ready for an upcoming audit?  See how Sentinel can help!

 

Looking for more ways to effectively manage internal access and stay compliant? Check out our post on Managing PeopleSoft User Access.

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