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How Can I Make my Audit Results More Predictable?

 

June 19, 2014

 

 

By Jon Long

The only thing more stressful than a final exam is going into that exam feeling unprepared. Did I study the right topics? Will I have enough time? Do I feel confident in my understanding of the material? A looming audit is no different— feeling unprepared can be nerve-racking.

But when businesses take a proactive approach to risk management, stress levels subside. By outsourcing expertise and leveraging technology to monitor and control compliance, businesses can be more confident and secure about the safety of their protocols and systems.
Here are three elements that contribute to predictable audit outcomes:
· Outsourced expertise: When businesses access outsourced risk management to implement compliance and assurance, they can better predict the outcome of their audits. By trusting a knowledgeable and flexible team of risk managers instead of solely relying on in-house staff with limited knowledge of perpetually evolving compliance issues, businesses have the assurance that their systems are being adequately monitored and controlled. Not only can they can find comfort in the fact that their risk management is in the hands of qualified professionals, it can become an ongoing process that delivers predictable and transparent results to meet information security goals.
· Improved technology: By leveraging technology to create a secure environment that offers greater internal transparency and control, businesses have a more comprehensive view of their systems and the way they’re being used by their workforce. When this happens, businesses are able to identify issues as they occur in real-time rather than after the fact from the results of an audit. Not only does this remove the unwanted and unpredictable surprise factor, it can save businesses the cost of needing to immediately fix a problem.
· Gaining control of the process: Continuous compliance and assurance allows companies to define their own standards and gain control over the audit process. While the technical requirements of a given certification must still be met, the preconditions for compliance application are controlled in a collaborative environment between business and auditor, enabling a truly predictable (and budget-able) environment. Simply put, the best preparation for a test is to write the test yourself.

Taken together, these concepts explain why audits feel like pop quizzes to so many businesses. It’s a painful way to earn or maintain appropriate certification and leads to a pause-or-panic culture within the company. Savvy companies plan ahead, help write the test and use the latest technology to ensure a passing grade.

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