Audit checklists are a way to manage and control the processes that improve quality management. These are usually presented in a step-by-step fashion, with instructions laid down on how to do each of the tasks involved. It could be a long list, or even just a few items, but it will usually contain all the areas that need to be checked and verified. The items in the checklist will usually be divided into categories, with subcategories, and then subgroups. This helps in finding out what specific area needs improvement, or what work needs to be done in the area, and then what corrective actions need to be carried out on the specific area.
The main advantage of internal audit checklists is that they provide a solid foundation for the work of the audit management team, as well as giving them a guide to follow. Internal checklists are much more targeted and detailed than external checklists, especially when dealing with a company’s finances. Internal auditors also use internal checklists to gather information that will help them in their efforts to ensure that the company’s goals and objectives are being met. External checklists may cover different areas, such as customer satisfaction, but they still allow the company to have a reference point that will help them to see where progress needs to be made.
Using audit checklists will improve the communication between the different parts of the audit process. Internal auditors will have a clear understanding of where they are currently at in the process. They can then plan how to get further along and reach their goals. It will also make the task of getting there far easier, because they have already planned and executed strategies for improvement. The same applies to the external auditors.
When using audit checklists, you will find that the process becomes far more manageable, not only for the different parties involved, but also because of the checklists themselves. If you try to deal with the entire audit log as if it were an individual document, you run the risk of not dealing with all of the questions accurately. For example, you might list questions such as “Can we validate customer statements?” instead of “What are the goals of this process audit?” An effective audit checklist template will deal with each of these types of questions, ensuring that the audit process flows smoothly.
An effective audit plan will consist of an action plan, a schedule, and goals and objectives. Each of these items has to be well defined and carefully planned out so that everyone involved understands what they are trying to achieve. Once this is done, the next step is to create a final draft of the plan. At this point, any changes or modifications can be debated and reviewed until you are satisfied that the plan has all of the necessary elements. By following this general format for creating audit checklists, the internal auditors and the external auditors have a document that will enable them to move forward and meet their goals.
Every audit involves at least one process that should be addressed. If the auditor does not find valid risks or areas of concern, it is not worth spending time on the audit itself. Likewise, if the auditor does find valid concerns, they should include those in the written conclusions. When the audit is completed, the audit checklists should be used as a tool for identifying improvements to the audit processes and procedures.