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Internal Audit Reports Post Sarbanes-Oxley: A Guide to Process-Driven Reporting by Susan M. Switzer

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CHAPTER 9

GRAPHICS AND EDITING

Transforming raw data into information and translating that information into actionable messages is a demanding task. As in any kind of communication, a visual is worth a thousand words; and in the case of audit reports, maybe a million dollars. Therefore, this chapter will provide tips on how to best incorporate graphic elements into the internal audit reporting process.

As that process reaches its conclusion, editing is essential. To edit does not mean merely to shorten the text or just correct the misspellings that the spellcheck software caught. As a critical component of the audit reporting process, the edit is the comprehensive, big-picture examination of the document that gives the auditors one more chance to make sure the headings match the ones in the Table of Contents, to count the pieces, and to produce a precision report. Tips and Techniques on how to mentally achieve enough objectivity to edit successfully are also offered in this chapter.

MAKING REPORTS LOOK GOOD

Auditors should consider graphics as part of the report-writing process for two reasons: (1) drawing attention to certain findings and recommendations is required to make a convincing case; and (2) people are more inclined to read material that is attractively presented. It's that simple.

Paragraph breaks, headings, and other billboard devices were discussed in previous chapters. Here, the more formal graphic elements, such as tables and graphs, will be considered.

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