Benefits of a Quality Assurance and Improvement Program for Internal Audit

June 2019 | Article

By Judy Farmer | Patrick Schneider and Scott Smaligo

An internal audit can provide much insight and potential opportunities for your business, in addition to fulfilling a business requirement. Audits provides credibility to your business. In the same way, it is also critical for your internal audit activity to have credibility with stakeholders.

What is a Quality Assurance and Improvement Program?
There are a set of standards that internal auditors must conform to which are titled the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. The primary tool for evaluating internal audit activity and whether or not it conforms with the standards is through a Quality Assurance and Improvement Program.

A Quality Assurance and Improvement Program is an ongoing program intended to increase the quality and value of internal audit services. It assesses the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal audit activity. The program will evaluate conformance with relevant policies, procedures, standards, core values and a code of ethics.

As an organization grows, their operations and quality processes must evolve to keep pace. A Quality Assurance and Improvement Program monitors this through both an internal and external assessment, which are required as part of the standards.

An internal assessment is comprised of two elements:

  1. Ongoing monitoring: The continuous supervision throughout the audit process.
  2. Periodic self-assessment: Provides a more holistic, comprehensive review of the standards and the internal audit activity.

An external assessment is like a periodic self-assessment. An external quality assessment evaluates conformance with the Definition of Internal Auditing from the Institute of Internal Auditors, the standards and an evaluation of whether internal auditors apply the institute’s code of ethics. A competent and independent external review team is required for the external assessment. There must also be an objective party for an independent validation of the organization’s internal self-assessment.

Contact us for more information on a Quality Assurance and Improvement Program for your organization.

Five Things You Need to Know about Quality Assurance Reviews

  1. Successful organizations have a clear understanding of what the value of their organization looks like to their customers and stakeholders. Determining value requires a thorough understanding of the organization’s objectives, priorities and definition of success
  2. It is critical for an internal audit activity to have credibility with stakeholders. Internal auditors must conform to a set of standards titled the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.
  3. The primary mechanism for evaluating whether or not an internal audit activity conforms with the standards is through a Quality Assurance and Improvement Program.
  4. There are two key components of a Quality Assurance and Improvement Program: And internal assessment and an external assessment (QAR)
  5. The value of external assessments includes an opportunity to validate the internal audit function’s proficiency and professionalism, enhance the internal audit function and obtain an independent opinion on the quality of the internal audit function.

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