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

Strategy #6: Advisory or Consulting Engagements Can Be “High Impact” Too

The events of the past decade — Enron, WorldCom, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the global financial crisis, among others — have enhanced recognition of the fact that financial controls are important. But value-added consulting engagements such as assessment services, facilitation services, and remediation services also can add value and improve an organization’s operations in a big way. Consulting engagements are likely to be high impact because they generally are the result of management requests for needed services such as counsel, advice, facilitation, process design, and training.

Assessment engagements are those in which the auditor examines/evaluates a past, present, or future aspect of operations and renders information to assist management in making decisions. Examples of these engagements include assessing the risk of a physical security breach, evaluating a proposed reorganization plan, assessing proposed internal controls, or estimating total costs of decentralized acquisition.

Facilitation services are those in which auditors assist management in examining organizational performance for the purpose of promoting change. In a facilitation role, auditors do not “judge” performance. Instead, we guide management in identifying organizational strengths and opportunities for improvement. Examples include strategic planning support, business process reengineering support, benchmarking, performance measurement, and control self-assessment.

Remediation services are those in which the auditor assumes a direct role designed to prevent or remediate known or suspected problems on behalf of a client. Examples include developing and delivering training courses, reviewing or drafting proposed policies or systems, and augmenting operating personnel.

From Richard Chambers, CIA, CGAP, CCSA

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