Is your company ready for agile auditing?

Agility — or the ability to react quickly — is essential to surviving and thriving in today’s competitive landscape. Though agile techniques were originally used in the realm of software development, this concept has many applications in the modern business world, including how companies approach their internal audits. Here’s an overview of agile auditing and why many internal audit teams are jumping on the bandwagon.

The basics

Whereas a traditional audit requires extensive planning, fieldwork and reporting, an agile audit moves at a faster pace. An agile audit also allows the audit team to continually refocus their attention and efforts where they’re needed the most.

Agile auditing relies on the following key concepts:

Audit backlogs. The audit team keeps a backlog of reviewed and approved audit programs. As the environment evolves, the audit team can add, remove or reprioritize audit programs within the backlog. This dynamic approach ensures that the audit team focuses on the most pressing issues — and minimizes the likelihood that they’ll waste time on an issue from a previous audit plan that’s no longer relevant.

User stories. Auditors create user stories that are made up of:

  • A user,

  • An action, and

  • An outcome.

Each story corresponds to a unit of work related to the audit. The user is the individual responsible for performing critical tasks related to the story. The action is what the user must do to generate a desired outcome.

For example, a retailer (the user) wants to process credit card payments from customers online (the action), so they can order online (the outcome). Creating a story provides the audit team with an understanding of the user’s requirements and the desired outcome.