In an earlier blog entry, we discussed the inadequacies of the current auditing model and gave examples of where it had fallen short and why.
In this post we will look at a different auditing model that, going forward, addresses the disparity between documented/historical data and ‘business as usual’ data.
Technology appears to be the way forward for auditing but not just as an addition or in the form of remote auditing. A different auditing model is required, one that doesn’t just perpetuate and reinforce the current model of auditing the past. Consistent , real time evidence collection and analysis software scooping data from a large number of sources that consistently collect behavioural, compliance and effectiveness data – that’s the way forward.
This would allow the auditors to gather wide ranging information from auditees from within and without the organisation about what is really going on in the organisation day-by-day. This could then be supplemented by site visits to see what goes on at ground level. This type of data lives more in a behavioural realm – you don’t audit process maps and documents, you collect real world, behavioural evidence of what people experience in terms of other people’s behaviour and the impact on business performance. It is with this kind of information that managers can steer their processes into the future.
But how to go about it? Input devices and auditing software used in conjunction can collect data from auditees on the impact of other auditees’ behaviour – making every person an auditor and auditee simultaneously. The original auditor’s role is to identify the experiences they need feedback on and the level to which it demonstrates organisational capability. When responses are analysed, this could provide risk profiles of system or process performance which show the manager of the organisation the potential risks and what areas of improvement there are to ensure the processes don’t fail – this being far better than a simple ‘everything is ok’ or a tick.
This auditing method doesn’t flag where the problem is , rather it indicates where the risk is emerging helping to pinpoint the start of the root cause analysis.
You may be asking, ‘Isn’t this too costly and unrealistic?’
As we have covered in a previous blog, technology is reducing costs through reducing the need for human auditors on the ground – a far more costly expenditure despite the initial outlay required for technology.
Technology also brings a number of other benefits:
- Associated travel costs
- Reduces audit fatigue
- Range of input devices
- Increases ROI through providing information managers actually need
Clearly, the 21st century needs an updated auditing model and perhaps, technology gives us the first step.