Agile Auditing - Mind Over Matter

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Agile in ActionOne global organisation is eighteen months into its agilejourney. The business has adopted an agile approach in threekey stages of its audits – planning, fieldwork and reporting. Itsobjective is to get to the fieldwork as rapidly as possible. Thefirst sprint in each audit is often a two-week planning phase.The outcome of that sprint can be a rough overall plan for theaudit and the details for the first sprint.An agile audit at the business has five key attributes:1. Full team involvement is maintained for the duration ofthe audit. There is clarity over roles and responsibilities.Junior staff attend all planning, scrum and retrospectivemeetings. Each audit has a designated leader who signs offon the work at the end of each sprint. The business tries tokeep a core team of 3 to 4 people together on consecutiveaudits out of an average compliment of 5 people.2. Audit work is visualised and updated on scrum boards.The business has refused calls to provide technology torun the agile audit projects because it has found verbalcommunication to be the fastest and most effective way tobrainstorm problems and unblock issues preventing theaudit’s completion. A block is represented on the board bya physical object, which is only removed once the issueis resolved.3. Audit work is delivered in sprints, which are two-weekperiods each with its own well-defined objectives and goals.4. Each sprint is structured with key events: sprint planning,daily scrum, sprint review and sprint retrospective. Allteam members must attend the daily 15-minute scrumand the audit client is also invited. Those auditees in thebusiness most likely to attend have experienced their ownagile working practices. They understand the value ofrapid problem-solving. The scrum board is often locatedwithin the office of business section being audited to makethe audit team accessible. If the scrum decides that workcan stop in one area, they take that decision immediatelyand move to the next step in the sprint. “When externalstakeholders come to the daily scrum, they can send atext and remove a blocker during the meeting. It can beamazingly effective at clearing up misunderstandings withthe client.”5. Internal and external stakeholders with a vested interestin the audit are invited to the sprint reviews. “There isalways tangible feedback on audit’s findings at the end ofit, including the good, the bad and the unknown. You aredelivering some of your assurance without issuing a finalreport and removing the chance that the auditee will besurprised by the results.”Tangible results have included a 20% time saving on regulatoryaudits and a 10% time saving on less standard audits. Qualityassurance reviews are consistent with pre-agile levels.Anecdotal feedback from the team and from auditees hasbeen positive, although difficult to quantify. Not all internaland external stakeholders are ready for an agile approach, butthe audit team plans to continue adopting an agile approachwhere possible over the coming twelve months.The benefits of IA functions moving toagile auditing When an organisation or programme is using anagile approach, ‘Agile Auditing’ delivers betteralignment and provides real-time assurance ratherthan retrospective assurance. An ‘Agile’ approach helps the audit team eradicatelow value work and realise efficiencies that allowthem to focus more time and effort on higher value,complex audits. Stakeholders have a better audit experience asthey receive informal assurance early in the auditprocess and have more opportunity to clear upmisunderstandings at the outset. Huddles: Junior members benefit from closerinvolvement in all aspects of the audit and are able todemonstrate competency earlier. Audit teams stay together during the course of mostaudits, challenging the view that continually movingpeople into new teams is effective or efficient.Tangible resultshave included a20%time saving on regulatoryaudits4 Agile auditing mindset over matter PwCand a10%time saving on lessstandard audits

agile auditing When an organisation or programme is using an agile approach, ‘Agile Auditing’ delivers better alignment and provides real-time assurance rather than retrospective assurance. An ‘Agile’ approach helps the audit team eradicate low value work and realise efficiencies that allow

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