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How do you audit a company’s culture?

A company’s culture is important on so many fronts. It’s how the employees feel whilst they are at work. It’s how the public perceives the business. It can even be a factor in the productivity of employees and the revenue which they generate for the business. Companies such as Google and Virgin thrive off their culture and the perception we, as the public, have of them. But can you actually audit a company’s culture?

A recent exercise required me to build a company’s audit universe and help set out the long term audit plan. (Side note: I have thoughts and opinions on long term audit plans and the need for internal audit to remain agile, but this is for another day). Throughout the exercise of matching company processes to controls, risks, and general audit topics, I wondered about the likelihood of actually performing a company culture audit. Nevertheless, the topic still made the audit universe, and was rated ‘N/A’ under ‘Next scheduled audit’.