Having an established internal audit program at an organization is a great way to identify and discover gaps or items that may have been missed before, such as a disconnect between your vendor management policies and procedures and the final work product.
The organization’s internal audit program is comprised of the policies and procedures that govern the internal audit function. Ultimately, the complexity of audit programs may vary depending on the size of the organization but at least should include these seven elements.
7 Elements to a Proper Internal Audit Program
- A mission statement or audit charter outlining the purpose, objectives, organization, authorities and responsibilities of the internal auditor, audit staff, audit management and the audit committee.
- A risk assessment process to describe and analyze the risks inherent in a given line of business.
- An audit plan detailing internal audit's budgeting and planning processes.
- An audit cycle that identifies the frequency of audits.
- Audit work programs that set out for each audit area the required scope and resources, including the selection of audit procedures, the extent of testing and the basis for conclusions.
- Written audit reports informing the board and management of individual department or division compliance with policies and procedures.
- Follow-up processes that require internal auditors to determine the disposition of any agreed-upon actions to correct significant deficiencies.
The Goal of an Internal Audit Program
Specific to vendor management, the objective of an internal audit program should be to evaluate the controls and processes required to effectively conduct and manage the risk associated with the overall vendor management program within your organization.
Your goal is to be able to answer and address these areas:
- Does your organization have the appropriate controls in place to mitigate risks that are present in the vendor management program framework, due diligence process, contracting, services review and the overall monitoring and management of vendor relationships?
- The Internal Auditor must be able to identify and assess the risks with each of the control activities reviewed during the audit of the vendor management program.
- Additionally, mitigation plans need to be assigned and monitored for those risks that have been identified within the audit that require remediation.
The audit program needs to ensure that you've implemented risk mitigation controls appropriate for the size, scale and scope of the vendors being utilized to deliver services. The scope and objectives of the audit will also depend on the overall maturity and governance structure of the vendor management program, and it should include all areas within the organization that are involved in the execution of the program (e.g. procurement, IT, information security, legal, compliance, operations, etc.).
It must clearly document the objectives, scope, audit procedures, control activities, test steps and work to be performed along with evidence and supporting artifacts that will be collected. This drives the observations, findings, risk ratings, results and recommendations as the end-result.
For a helpful audits guide, download our checklist.