What Is an Audit Checklist?
According to Forbes an audit checklist is a document or a list of tasks that contains all the necessary steps, items, or activities to be completed during an audit. Its goal is to help the auditor identify all the issues, risks and controls associated with the internal controls system during the audit process. Audit checklists can come in many different forms, whether paper-based or digital, and comply with the needs of the organization.
Auditing is generally defined as a systematic, independent and objective examination of certain pre-defined and agreed-upon standards. This can, for example, include financial statements that the auditor examines, processes and controls. However, audits are performed also in order to ensure that regulatory requirements, as for certain international standards, are being met and followed appropriately. Auditors are therefore responsible for reporting on an entity's compliance with legal mandates as well as evaluating the appropriateness and effectiveness of internal controls.
Most auditing software programs already have a list of standard audit checklist templates that can be used for different types of audits. The purpose of such an internal audit checklist is to ensure that the auditor takes all the appropriate steps to conduct an effective audit.
It is important to always make sure that the comprehensive internal audit checklist you have should be easy to follow and comprehensive enough to cover all aspects of an audit, including verifying any relevant laws, regulations, and policies.
Regardless of the domain, a comprehensive internal audit checklist should include these assessments:
- Documentation: Ensure that all documentation is complete and accurate.
- Physical Security: Check for unauthorized access to sensitive areas, such as data centers and server rooms to protect your safety and your client’s sensitive data.
- Personnel: Ensure that only authorized personnel are granted access to sensitive areas and equipment.
- Physical Controls. Examine physical controls such as locks, alarms, cameras and other electronic devices designed to protect against theft or unauthorized access.
- Electronic Security. Examine electronic security measures, such as passwords and firewalls. This is to ensure the protections are functioning properly and are not vulnerable to attack by hackers or viruses. Intruders attempting to compromise your computer network or steal confidential audit information stored on your servers or workstations is an extremely costly expense.
In this article, we will discuss:
1. The most essential elements of an audit checklist
2. Important tasks to include in your audit checklist
3. Benefits of using audit checklists
4. How a checklist software can complement your audits
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The 4 Most Important Elements Of An Audit Checklist
A good audit template should have comprehensive, easy-to-follow procedures. It should also be written in such a way that it can't be misunderstood by anyone involved in the process – from senior management to interns.
Here’s how to prepare an audit form checklist to include the fundamentals:
- Define the scope of your audit.
Identify who will be involved in the process, what assets are being audited, what information you need to collect, and what data will be used for analysis.
- Identify the client's organizational structure.
This includes relationships among key personnel and other stakeholders.
- Determine which systems you're going to audit.
You can do this by interviewing stakeholders and reviewing documentation about current systems, as well as any planned changes or upgrades that might affect your review procedures (e.g., system upgrades, mergers/acquisitions).
- Conduct initial interviews with key stakeholders.
This includes: management, technical personnel and users of the system(s) being evaluated. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of how they use those systems and what they expect from them.
Make sure you ask questions that will help you determine whether the system(s) are meeting their objectives.
The Most Important Tasks To Include In Your Audit Checklists
The audit process typically includes the following procedures to make each audit cost-effective and scalable:
- Identify the purpose and scope of the audit
- Identify risks and controls in place
- Assess the entity's internal control environment
- Perform audit procedures
- Evaluate evidence obtained during the audit
- Confirm compliance with laws, regulations and policies
- Report results in an audit report
- Provide management with feedback on control deficiencies
- Determine if controls are working properly
- Test control procedures, such as segregation of duties, documentation retention, etc.
- Evaluate results against standards and expectations (internal or external)
- Make corrections if necessary, including recommendations for improvement
The 4 Advantages of Using an External Audit Planning Checklist
- More Accurate Record-keeping
An all-inclusive external audit planning checklist will help you keep track of everything that you need to do and ensure that all relevant information is considered during the audit process. This will make sure that you or your team don’t miss out on any important tasks or procedures.
- Time Management
Your audit guide can help save time by ensuring that all the necessary steps are completed successfully. Since it has been designed by experts in their respective fields, it can help you avoid any errors while conducting your project.
This means that you will be able to save time, money and effort by not having to redo anything because of mistakes made during its completion. Your checklist can also help you plan your project before you start so that you know exactly what needs to be done and how much time it will take for each task involved.
- Onboarding Training
Audit guides are also helpful as training tools for new auditors or as a means of ensuring that experienced auditors continue to follow best practices. They can be used to ensure that the new hires know all the information considered during an audit, or to improve the turnover rate for current auditors in your team.
- Consistency and Error-free Assessments
A well-written audit checklist ensures consistency across different projects and different people. It also helps in following a standard procedure during the project by making it easier for others to understand and follow the tasks, ensuring that there are no errors made during the process.
Create Audit Checklists Effortlessly With A Software
Lumiform is a powerful audit tool that can help you make sure that your audit checklist are form fitted to your business structure. We offer templates that you can customize and use over and over again with just a few clicks.
This helps audit teams to cut time and save money spent searching for the perfect audit checklist as Lumiform’s expansive gallery already has one ready for your business whatever its scope or scale. From pre-made ISO audit checklists to quality audits, you will find whatever you are looking for and can customize the template as you see fit.
However, the benefits of using Lumiform’s audit templates don’t end there. Here’s more to consider:
- Powerful & simple – Lumiform provides a remarkably simple user interface, which allows you to create create audit checklists. The best thing? You don't have to be an expert in HTML coding or any other complicated software program because Lumiform is designed to be intuitive.
- Complete but never overwhelming – our highly intuitive mobile app allows you to finish your audits faster and error-free, increasing your audit team’s productivity and work performance tenfold.
- Accessible anywhere at the lowest cost.
- Form-fitted to your business – Lumiform offers contract templates in different languages, which include everything from simple financial statement audits to large-scale operational audits. You can even choose whichever template meets your unique audit team’s needs and requirements then customize it by just adding in additional fields or deleting others as required.
- Faster Business Growth – because you're using the power of state-of-the-art auditing technology, you can process your internal controls, policies and procedures up to 30%-40% faster than before, scaling your business faster.