Five Types of Audits
Updated: May 10, 2018
I'm certain we are all most familiar with financial and tax audits for business entities, but financial audits are not the only type of audits that can be performed to help assess, analyze, identify and evaluate the performance of your organization. Hence the title to this blog post "Five Types of Audits". The practice of auditing and creating meaningful assessments for operational use in a business is essential for driving performance, increasing the customer experience, boosting sales, maximizing ROI and providing needed insights for growth and development. Audits serve a true purpose when they are authentic, transparent, strategic and thorough.
Let's discuss "Five Types of Audits" a business can perform or outsource to gather a true evaluation of the health and quality of their goods, products, systems or services. By no means is this an all inclusive list, just a sampling of the different types of audits an organization can perform.
#1. The Customer Engagement Audit - Customer engagement audits are great resource assessments for engaging, involving and giving voice to consumers while providing a way of encouraging interaction, suggestion and feedback to your brand and/or organization's offerings. More and more businesses are utilizing employee engagement, customer engagement and feedback surveys as a way mold and create experiences that promote brand or organization loyalty, sustainability and excellence. The end goal of these types of assessments and audits is to strengthen your customer or employee engagement plan by delivering exceptional experiences that are meaningful and enhance your perceived value proposition.
2. The Compliance Audit - Compliance audits seek to assess the overall implementation and execution of a set of standards, policies or procedures. Standards can be established by regulatory bodies, accrediting organizations, third-party vendors and/or internal company procedures such as brand standards, quality control guidelines or program directives. Compliance audits can be uniform or standardized (provided usually by an outside or governing source) or internally developed and circulated by a written program that includes an assessment resource tool. Compliance audits are useful to determine whether or not the organization is meeting expectations and the results provide keen insights for where training programs, emphasis or opportunities for improvement exist.
3. The Operations Audit - Operations audits verify and assesses how resources are being used in the organization to further the goals and objectives of a department, business directive or service/program offering. The operations audit seeks to analyze and determine potential efficiencies and process improvements that could lead to better operations or higher levels of profitability or performance. Operations audits incorporate aspects of financial assessment but tend to review how finances are facilitating or limiting performance, whether costs can be contained or reduced, and whether operation capabilities can be enhanced.
4. The Investigative Audit - Investigative audits are usually conducted to determine whether or not waste, theft, mismanagement or fraudulent activity is occurring in the organization. Investigative audits are usually initiated by a board of directors or key leaders when suspicion of questionable activity is known, reported or suspected. Investigative audits can confirm an allegation or assure the organization no such concern should be warranted. The attempt is to locate, identify and limit areas of discontinuity or weakness where the policies, procedures and established oversights are exposing the company to risk.
5. The Information System Audit - Many organizations have regulatory compliance standards that determine how consumer or client data is maintained. Organizations are often charged with the responsibility to maintain confidentiality and protect consumer information from misuse and/or abuse. To this extent, information system audits look at information technology (IT) architecture, security controls, processes, database management, and network controls. The primary goal of these audits is to assess the information system and then identify, recommend and analyze potential areas of concern or exposure.
To learn more about the different types of audits and assess whether you need a third-party audit assessment provider please feel free to contact us at The Osborn Group. We specialize in performing third party, non-financial audit assessments, engagement data collection/analysis and operations evaluations. In addition, we can tailor a specific program for your organization and assist you in authoring your compliance manuals, brand standards manual, operations manual to include relevant resource assessment and reporting tools.
by Timothy G. Osborn, Senior Consultant/ Founder @ The Osborn Group, LLC
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