An internal audit is an important exercise that every organization carries out to ensure that its processes and procedures are adhering to set guidelines and are meeting regulatory requirements. Once an internal audit is carried out; the task of the auditor is to present the findings in an audit report. This is where internal audit report writing skills come into play.
Internal audit report writing skills go a long way in putting the audit result in proper perspective. While the core skill of the auditor is in auditing; internal audit report writing skills are complementary to this core skill, but extremely important nevertheless, as it is these skills that help the management make sense of the audit report.
- To make the auditor’s observations known, so that they lead to further action from concerned management personnel, and
- Bringing about a new process or persuading people to look at a particular aspect from a different outlook
What go into honing internal audit report writing skills?
The idea of ingraining internal audit report writing skills is that they should help the auditor convey what she wants to, to the concerned persons in the organization. This calls for some level of expertise and finesse. Of course, this can be inculcated and learn over time. In other words, internal audit report writing skills are no rocket science and can be nurtured and polished over time.
Some elements of good internal audit report writing skills
Although there are no strict rules for how an internal audit report is to be written; internal audit report writing skills need to be finessed to the point where the auditor is able to convey the message across without being too soft or too bombastic. Good internal audit report writing skills also consist of the ability to write an internal audit report that doesn’t clutter itself with too much information that may not be eventually used by management, thus making it useless.
A good guideline for fine-tuning internal audit report writing skills could be summarized as ABC:
Assertiveness: Good internal audit report writing skills begin with arriving straight to the point. An auditor who thinks of arriving at important points at the later point of the presentation is not likely to hold the attention of the reader. Managements are usually very aggressive and active, and look for action items straightaway. Keeping the best for the last works in some instances, but not as part of internal audit report writing skills. Following this method makes the report digressing.
Brevity: Isn’t it said the brevity is the soul of wit? This holds good for audit report writing, as well. Grandiloquent use of words and fluffy passages are to be avoided if the report has to make an impact.
Conviction: Many internal auditors think that dressing up the difficult or delicate areas of the audit report is a part of internal audit report writing skills. They could not be more mistaken. The auditor’s task is to look for loopholes and lacunae; any attempt to camouflage it shows the auditor in poor light. The auditor has to have the conviction to a spade a spade. This part of internal audit report writing skills calls for clarity.