Friday, August 18, 2006

Audit Integrity

Audit integrity is critical to the well-being of society and the records that are generated as a result of audits conducted. Those who conduct audits must do so with integrity principles engrained in their personal character. Auditors performing such audits as accounting, quality assurance or quality system to name a few must not have any preceived conclusions of the outcome. When conclusions are present whether they are fixed or perceived without verification, the process of the audit and the data collected can be affected. He/she must make sure that the focus is maintained during the audit to accomplish the intent established.

Audit integrity is a subject that should be important to all individuals. Audits that are conducted in various businesses affect decisions we must make as individuals involving our family, friends and our livelihood. Most of us have been involved at one point or another with audits that are conducted. All companies have some involvement with the audit process. They are either conducting an audit or they are being audited. Those of us that work must make sure that when we are involved in an audit, either conducting it or answering questions, we must do so honestly.

We must place ourselves in other individual’s position. Would we want audit results not properly identify the actual status of a company’s system or their products. The accuracy can be critical if we are making a decision to purchase stock, products or services. Therefore, we must make sure that our involvement has the characteristics of honesty, completeness and accuracy. There have been examples of audits conducted that did not produce or identify problems with company records. This inaccuracy or incompleteness affected hundreds of thousands of individuals.

We as individuals also conduct our own audits though we may not realize it. We check our phone bill, credit card statements and others for accuracy to make sure that we are not being charged for something that was not authorized. Let us make sure that any audits we conduct or with which we become involved that we do so honestly. If we are conducting an audit we must make sure that we get satisfactory answers to questions we ask and if we do not to keep asking until we receive a satisfactory response. If we are asked a question during an audit we must provide an answer that directly relates to the question. One point with providing answers in an audit environment is to only answer the question and not volunteer more information than what the question is asking for.

In summary audits that are conducted must be accurate, honest and complete both in the performance and the results. Auditors must satisfy the purpose of the audit and ask specific questions to collect data on which to make decisions. The data required must be complete, accurate and reliable to draw conclusions. Any decision made to determine compliance or noncompliance to applicable requirements must be based on all applicable data for the area being reviewed. All applicable contractual and system requirements must also be reviewed and validated to determine compliance. The individuals involved in answering questions of an auditor must answer the question with enough data to satisfy the conditions posed in the question. They should however, not volunteer any additional data that is not needed for the auditor to determine acceptance of the answer provided.


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