Building a Unified Audit Program in Financial Services

  • July 15, 2021
  • Quantivate

Financial services firms have historically approached audit management through scattered and disconnected methods. Individual auditors worked in their own siloed environments, lost in disorganized spreadsheets, loosely organized internal checklists, and separate auditing protocols across different business functions.

As technology has enabled better external and internal audit management, financial institutions are replacing these ineffective processes with a unified audit program that simplifies and streamlines financial and internal control audits.

Best Practices for a Unified Audit Ecosystem

  • Stakeholders, IT delivery and support teams, and the audit team understand and agree on business and information processing risks and controls.
  • Manual and automated feeds, system interfaces, and communications are accurate, timely, and secure.
  • Manual and automated transactions are approved, timely, and accurately processed.
  • Information is secure, and confidentiality controls follow current regulations.

Disaster recovery and business continuity plans provide reasonable assurance that both systems and business operations can recover and continue when a disruption occurs. Program changes are authorized, tested, approved, and migrated to production as prescribed by the business process owners.

Management is responsible for designing the approach. Ideally, institutions will implement an organized framework for defining, maintaining, and reporting on internal control structures and protocols.

Not all issues will be identified in financial and operational controls. Issues identified in information technology may negate the effectiveness of the financial and operational controls and vice-versa. An integrated audit approach evaluates the interplay between financial, operational, and technology processes on the achievement of control objectives.

Transitioning to a unified audit framework is a crucial step toward operational maturity. An integrated audit ecosystem doesn’t just adhere to legal requirements but also establishes precedent and supports a proactive compliance posture within your organization.

Read more on internal audit maturity and audit integration:

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