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Integrated Audit Teams

Companies today need to invest their audit resources in establishing integrated audit teams, if they have not done so already. These teams should be composed of auditors who have experience auditing various business processes. The members of the teams can be financial auditors, operational auditors, information system auditors, application auditors, security auditors, risk management auditors , etc. The establishment of an effective audit team should be drawn from these resources. Depending on the process being audited, the synergy of these auditors working together on an assigned audit, can be very advantageous and beneficial to the company.

I have been involved in audits where auditors have a background in finance, accounting, application system development, administration, human resources,e purchasing, inventory, real estate, security or various other business processes. A team consisting of personnel with varied expertise is almost a necessity in today's environment. For example, almost all data appearing on financial reports flows through various IT systems and it would be a significant asset to have an IT auditor participating in many audits who understands data flow from origin to distribution, applicable audit programs, and associated risks that should be reviewed. Another example would be an accounts payable audit. The internal audit organization might find it very advantageous to have an accounting auditor, IT auditor, and security auditor on the audit team. The advantages of an integrated audit team are mainly twofold:

1. Having the expertise necessary for more effective audits to be conducted

2. Saving time and resources by reducing the number of audits conducted. Rather than having a separate financial audit, or IT audit or security audit, the same conclusions and exposures could be identified with one integrated audit.

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