EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Melissa Coutier from DCM Services.
Did you say audit? Audit requests for companies like DCM Services are part of our everyday operations and environment. Our team understands that audit preparation is a large, but very important endeavor. Being an auditee involves a time commitment for document gathering, an explanatory meeting regarding processes and procedures, and gathering evidence requests. This pre-audit foundation work is often met with more critique than praise. However, what most internal audit teams ignore are the many opportunities to create organizational value following an audit.
An independent perspective
The audit process allows you to receive an independent perspective on your company’s processes and efficiencies. Most of the time the auditor has audited companies in your industry, or even your competitors. The auditor’s opinions and recommendations should be held in high regard and used to improve your company’s services, internal operations, and processes. An on-site audit is also a great opportunity for our team to build a trusted reputation and relationship.
Furthermore, auditing is a chance to showcase your company’s dedication to compliance, the complex regulatory environment, and your proactive approach to strong internal controls. Many organizations face a wide range of risks that impact the outcome of their business; risk management, compliance, and audit functions deserve attention as they are extremely important to the overall organizational health.
A consultative approach
After an audit, our team pays close attention to the audit closeout meeting, which is a comprehensive discussion of the audit experience. Auditors leave no stone left unturned, covering observations both good and bad, but ultimately highlighting areas of improvement. Often, audit teams overlook the mentions of positive actions and practices that were observed during the audit due to the negative connotation often associated with the audit process. Once received, the audit report details any opportunities for improvement. These items then are discussed with our audit committee and executive leadership team.
This closeout meeting is also our chance to ask any questions, give feedback, evaluate portfolio strategies, and the improvement of processes. During this time, we discuss any potential discrepancies, and provide clarity to the auditors about our internal processes. Most importantly, our team takes advantage of this meeting to build rapport as most auditors are subject matter experts in their industries with vast repositories of knowledge and upcoming trends.
How to create value
Auditing is an independent, objective, assurance activity that adds value and improves our company’s operations. Audit activities also provide assurance to management and our audit committee that risks to the organization have been properly evaluated and are being managed appropriately.
Our advice? Embrace a solution-driven culture of creativity and innovation for your clients, employees, and stakeholders. Leverage the audit as a valuable resource to executive management and the board of directors in accomplishing overall goals and objectives, as well as strengthening internal control and governance. A vendor with strong processes in place sets a standard for their clients, and ultimately elevates the industry at-large. Your commitment to continually improve your relationships and business operations will result in air-tight process control and eventually the establishment as a leader in your industry.
In the long run, it will be most effective for your organization to internalize proper audit practices as part of your holistic mission and culture. Here at DCM Services, we do the right thing not because a policy or law requires it, but because we truly value integrity and recognize the critical importance of compliance and risk management.
Melissa Coutier applies her decade worth of experience in government/regulatory auditing to successfully managing the Audit team at DCM Services. Her variety of expertise includes Risk Management, Federal Compliance, Internal Controls, Process Improvement, and Internal Investigations. She is a member of both the Certified Fraud Examiners Association and the Certified Internal Auditors Association, along with serving on the Supervisory Committee at a Federal Credit Union. Melissa’s team has received praise and won awards from clients as being a top leader in compliance in our industry.”