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, they can help the auditors 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 on how to improve their writing is considered to be
- Sometimes unrewarding
- 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 audited 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
- Communicate crucial messages to executives and board-level readers.
- Prerequisites 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.
- Assessing the objectives of audit report
- Understanding the audience of audit reports.
- Master the components of an audit observation: criteria, conditions/restrictions, causes, risks, effects and recommendations and/or action plans.
- Learn the typical structure of audit reports, including the structure of executive summaries and boardroom presentations.
- Examine techniques to enable readers to navigate – to find their way in what they need in the audit report.
- Receiving and giving feedback on draft audit reports.
- Learn how to write audit reports that prompt management action, communicate at the executive level and board levels, and also meet the professional applicable standards (IIAs, GAS, INTOSAI).
- Explore considerations for reports on compliance, investigations, and consulting engagements.
This program answers questions such as:
- How do I draft reports which qualify according to the criteria: accuracy, objective, clarity, conciseness, constructive, convincing, completeness and timeliness?
- How can I get my audience interested in my report?
- What is the reaction of the audience going to be to my report’s message?
- How can I present my findings to the executive level (boardroom presentation)?
- How should I avoid biased language?
- How can I develop a collaborative a consultative style?
- How can I make the process of preparing and issuing my audit report an integral part of the audit process?
- What do the audited and audit management expect from the audit report?
- identify the criteria for writing clear, unbiased and successful audit reports
- Teach management how to diagnose the problem in an audit report
- How to coach auditors to write more effectively
- How to structure an effective well-supported argument
- Be able to think through the details and identify those that are most important, those that will help persuade the audited to implement the recommendation, and those that are extraneous.
- Be able to identify the specific criteria for the audit department’s writing standards and client’s needs.
- How to focus the ideal level of detail, the type of appropriate language, the level of readability and the timing of the delivery of the report
- Become more efficient in organizing and writing reports.
- Put what you learn into practice during the course and plan how to put in into action on the job.