When the internal audit team conducts an audit of any aspect of a company's operations, they tend to treat the conditions they find in isolation. They may not be aware of similar conditions elsewhere in the company, and may encounter a technical issue with which they are not familiar. These issues can be mitigated by creating an online internal audit library that is stocked with information from all prior internal audits. The library can also contain references to who worked on these earlier audits, and their contact information. Further, the library can include the most updated accounting and auditing standards, for reference purposes. With some additional work, the library can even contain a listing of the most common issues found on audits, and what corrective actions were taken to mitigate or eliminate the issues.
A well-maintained on-line internal audit library can contribute to the efficiency of new audits by reducing the amount of research time used by internal auditors.
A considerable amount of labor is required to create such a library. Consider the following tasks:
- An electronic form must be filled out once each audit is completed, containing all of the information required to populate the library.
- The same form must be completed for all earlier audits that were completed before the library project was initiated.
- Obtain an on-line or CD-based subscription to the latest accounting and auditing standards, which should include a comprehensive search capability.
This approach will only work if the audit staff understands the need for the library, and is willing to spend the time required to create and update it.