Generating a Big Impact with a Small Audit Staff-Strategy III

Strategy #3: Benchmark for Success

Benchmarking is simply a process for comparing the performance or practices of one internal audit organization to another. It can be done either formally or informally, and it is particularly important for smaller internal audit shops, where the CAE may be somewhat isolated from the expertise of other experienced audit professionals.

As a CAE leading small shops, I found The IIA to be an extraordinary resource in connecting me with CAEs of similar sized audit groups. We frequently compared internal activities, processes, functions, or operations. I relied on benchmarking to facilitate improvements of my shop and to accelerate change, using tested and proven practices and identifying areas for improvement. Some of the objectives of benchmarking are to examine performance across organizations and industries in search of practices that are new or innovative. It also can be useful for involving process owners or for convincing skeptics of the need for change. (Remember the salary survey my colleague was reading? It seemed to convince him of a need for change, in salary at least.)

A few of the more common types of internal audit benchmarking include comparing audit charters, comparing briefing materials for new auditors (and for new audit committee members), comparing audit planning processes, and comparing audit reports and reporting processes. Many audit shops also participate in formal benchmarking programs, and small audit shop CAEs are turning increasingly to The IIA’s new AuditExecutiveCenter as a resource.

This is strategy 3 of 6.

From Richard Chambers, CIA, CGAP, CCSA

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