Updated: Oct 20, 2019
As we progress through an audit, there will be a number of observations / findings / issues, which may warrant being included in the final report, or at a minimum, followed up to verify whether the issue exists or not.
To ensure audit teams keep abreast of the issues which have been identified throughout the audit, it is beneficial to maintain a Potential Issues List. The template should be saved in a central location and should be accessible by all team members, allowing them to update the document as they progress throughout the audit. The benefits of maintaining a central issues listing include:
The audit lead and audit manager are able to check this document throughout the audit to understand the status of the review, what issues are arising and if there are any major issues, take immediate action on these;
A check can be performed towards the end of the review to ensure all issues have been appropriately identified and recorded; and
Follow up on issues can be performed to verify they exist (i.e. there have been no miss understanding between the auditor and the business area).
The template has been designed so that all observations identified in workpapers can be copied and pasted directly into the issues listing and referenced accordingly. This can help the audit lead / manager to ensure everything has been captured. Furthermore, the template has been designed so that it can feed into the Findings and Actions Workshop meetings and the final report.
As we all know, observations throughout the audit may be found to be mitigated by other controls or actions, can be merged with larger findings, or can simply be upheld and standalone observations. The template allows for the audit team to state the final conclusion of the recommendation through the status column and provide a comment as to why it may be removed or merged.
I have spoken previously about the 'Golden Thread'. The magical line that links our audit scope to our work program. The work program to the testing workpapers, and the workpapers to the final report. This potential issues list does exactly that, showing the link between the work program, workpapers, issues and where it has been included in the final report.
For any audit manager, this workpaper is crucial in your review of the audit file to ensure the completeness and accuracy of both workpapers and the final report.
Simply CLICK HERE to download your free template.