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Audit

Audit is one of the many advisory services to the senior management of an organisation.  It is different to other advisory services because:

  • it has a degree of independence, in that it is sponsored by  the Chief Executive and reports to the audit committee; and
  • it is governed by a set of standards and professional obligations.

As a small firm led by a Director with experience as a chief internal auditor and qualifications as a Certified Internal Auditor, Numerical Advantage is well placed to conduct specific audits as required.

We feel our expertise is better directed to performance audits that aim to provide measurable improvements to the operations of the organisation that can be justified on a cost-benefit basis. That said, we believe that there has never been an audit that did not have some elements of compliance - providing assurance that activities are being conducted as they should be.

Previous clients (of the director)

Department of the Environment

National Blood Authority

Department of Communications

ACTION (the Canberra bus service)

Department of Immigration

Australian Institute on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

In addition, extensive external performance audits have been delivered for the ANAO and the ACT Audit Office, covering a wide range of Commonwealth and ACT organisations.

Audit Committee experience

ACT Audit Office

Australasian Evaluation Society

Internal audit management services

In-source, out-source, co-source?  This choice is a continual issue for organisations, and is particularly problematical for small organisations.  The temptation is to adopt an out-sourced model that involves ascribing the chief internal auditor function to a non-audit specialist who is effectively the contract manager, audit committee secretary and, external audit co-ordinator (and sometimes other roles as well).  Our view of internal audit governance is as follows:

Where the audit function is large enough (say three or more staff) we recommend a predominantly in-sourced operation, with the use of contractors to provide expertise not available in-house or to deal with urgent audits. As an experienced audit manager, I can offer mentoring to such groups together with such contracted input.

For smaller organisations, the normal approach is full outsourcing, including of the audit committee secretariat and external audit coordination roles.  This does offer a single point of contact, potentially with ongoing relationships with the audit committee and the chief executive, backed up by audit expertise.  However, where staff allocated by the audit contractor keep changing, this opportunity is lost.  A further opportunity for smaller organisations is to combine audit, risk and evalautionevaluation in a single function; see Putting it all together.

Feared and despised?

A popular view of audit is that it is 'checking up on' the activities of the rest of the organisation with the aim of finding fault, and so comes to be feared.  Another common view is that it is merely 'box-ticking' - only checking whether defined procedures have been followed, not adding value, and so comes to be despised.

Our view is that although it is preferable to work cooperatively with staff at all levels, we do not resile from using the full powers of access sanctioned by the Chief Executive.  We will review whether procedures are aligned to corporate objectives - but if they are, they should be followed.  So although we do not enjoy being feared and despised, if that is necessary to provide assurance to the Chief Executive, so be it.