Persuasive communication is an essential skill for auditors at all levels, and high-quality audit reports are a key communication tool. Communication by the auditor is one of the points of measurements by which the client values assess the overlap quality and effectiveness of the audit. Managers and associates who know how to help their staff members as well as themselves become better writers, can do help the audit to put points on the scoreboard.
Most of the auditors find writing audit reports quite difficult, whereas the client usually find it difficult to understand what the factual findings are and what is expected as follow-up. Every audit report should be precise, accurate in its tone and further implications, and as well be user-friendly (i.e. readable and unbiased). The auditor’s report also must be short enough to be readable and long enough to be complete for each identified reading audience. These are the challenges auditors are facing.
Though strong writing skills do can pay huge dividends to the audit department, quite few auditors are actually outstanding writers. After all, the skills of the auditors are generally in technical analysis, not in communications. Also, training professionals how to improve their writing is considered to be costly, time-consuming, sometimes unrewarding, and too often frustrating. Teaching someone how to use the proper language can take years of continuous writing, feedback, rewriting, and more feedback.
Few supervisors, managers or directors possess the skills needed to diagnose the problem, the actual audit finding, in a given audit report; translate that diagnosis into an understanding of why an auditor is writing ineffectively and subsequently coach the auditor so that his or her writing skills actually improve over time.
Instead of prescribing a rigid format and precise expectations of what an audit report does and does not include, this course helps to define the outcomes an audit report should achieve and the target format. By creating rigid criteria, auditors would learn to write to the criteria themselves, rather than to build effective, persuasive arguments for why a finding is important and why an auditee should implement the recommendations.
By participating in this course, auditors will learn how to structure and write reports that meet the applicable professional standards (IIA, INTOSAI), elicit management action, and communicate crucial messages to executives and board-level readers.
- Understanding of basic audit principles
- Experience in communication of audit findings
- Knowledge of business English, especially written command is advised
- No advance preparation is required for this course
- To avoid formidable handwriting by hand, participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own laptop
- Participants are encouraged to bring with them copies of their organization’s audit reports. These will not be shared with others, but can be used by the participant for in-class writing practice and setting specific learning objectives