Chapter 4

Preparing for a Continuous Audit

Building the Business Knowledge

As discussed in Chapter 3, planning is the most critical component of any audit activity. To reinforce its importance and focus on developing a sound approach, Chapters 4 and 5 are dedicated to creating a strong structure for the successful development and planning of a continuous auditing program. Many times, planning for audit activity is done on the job during the fieldwork or even as an afterthought once the preliminary results are being compiled.

No matter how strong an auditor you are or how experienced your audit team may be, there is absolutely no reason to stop trying to learn about the current business operations, challenges, and risks facing the operational business team every day. Nothing is a more powerful tool for an auditor than business knowledge. If auditors focus on developing and maintaining their business knowledge, they will become much more efficient and effective at objectively analyzing the process and identifying the corresponding risks. Once auditors develop a solid working knowledge of the business area, they will be able to strategically dissect the process and create targeted programs to validate the control environment. Remember that no auditor is expected to understand the process at the same level of detail as the operational personnel working in the area. The goal is to build on the business knowledge each time you have an opportunity to interact and discuss the process ...

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