South East Training - Business Process Auditing Toolkit

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Audit Investigation

 

Opening Meeting

The opening meeting marks the start of the investigation phase of the business process audit.  It is held on site, with the local management, and is chaired by the lead auditor. 

The meeting gives the auditors the opportunity to confirm the purpose, scope and programme for the audit, to explain the audit process and to confirm the availability of the interviewees. The meeting may also provide the auditor with an insight into the local management's attitude towards business process auditing and business process improvement in general.

Further information is provided on the Opening Meeting page.

Audit Investigation

The purpose of the investigation phase is to obtain objective evidence of the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the processes and  their controls. This evidence may be found in the form of:

  • oral statements
  • documents
  • records
  • the auditor's own observations.
  •  

It is up to the auditor to make sure the evidence collected is:

  • relevant to the purpose of the audit
  • accurately documented in the audit records
  • verifiable.

The auditor collects evidence mainly through interview but it is essential that the auditor confirms oral statements by asking the auditee to verify the facts.  This might be provided in the form of documents or records that support the statements.  In some cases, where there is no documentary evidence, it may be necessary for the auditor to ask the same question to several interviewees for corroboration.

Audit Team Meetings

During the course of the investigation phase, the audit team meets up to share information and take stock of how the audit is progressing.  Evidence obtained in one area may be pertinent to the investigation in another, particularly if the team is looking at different parts of the same end-to-end process.

Auditee Wash-Up Meetings

If the audit extends over more than one day, as most do, it is normal to have periodic meetings with the auditee representative to share any evidence obtained during the investigation.  This has two purposes.  Firstly, it ensures that there are no surprises for the auditee when it comes to presentation of the findings at the closing meeting.  Secondly, it allows the auditee the opportunity to provide an explanation for any deficiencies identified and/or correct any factual errors in the evidence.  This helps the auditor ensure the accuracy of the findings.

Documenting Findings

The auditors document each finding as a separate observation statement for presentation at the closing meeting.  These statements form the basis of the corrective action that the auditee management should initiate as soon as the audit has been completed. It is important that the statements are factually correct, point to the reason for the deficiency if this is known and provide a conclusion.  They should also include the evidence that has led the auditor to raise the issue as a deficiency. 

Further information is presented on the Observation Statements page.

The team also produce a summary statement for presentation at the closing meeting.  This provides an overview of the audit and its findings.

Further information can be found on the Summary Statement page.

Closing Meeting

The closing meeting marks the end of the investigation phase of the business process audit. Again, it is held on site, with the local management, and is chaired by the lead auditor.

The purpose of the meeting is to relay the results of the audit investigation to the local management and gain a commitment from them that actions will be taken to address the issues identified. Observations should have been declared to the auditee representatives when they were found, so there should be no surprises at this meeting.  A formal report, incorporating the results presented at the meeting, will follow at a later stage.

Further information on the closing meeting is provided on the Closing Meeting page.

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