How does internal auditing maintain it’s independence and objectivity?
Now it’s tricky because if you’re an internal staff member of an organisation, it is difficult to be independent. But primarily as an external auditor and what we’re looking for, particularly here with our audits, is that our staff are not involved with the organisation.
They can be impartial, they’re not affected by politics, opinion, decisions or relationships, they can just come in as a fresh set of eyes, there’s no emotion involved, they can do an observation of what’s happening in the organisation and really help you to identify how the business can grow and improve.
I’ve seen in a lot of cases where internal auditors or even external auditors get too emotionally involved in the organisation, the politics and it’s very hard for them to make impartial judgments and write impartial reports and they might even side with one person or the other in an argument and you do see that come through in threads of the audit reports.
So, how do you remain independent?
Practice the principle of sitting on the fence. All you’re looking for is a match between both sides of the fence. You’re looking for: is the organisation doing what they said they would do? Then just saying it matches or it doesn’t match. It’s a black and white, yes it is what they said they would do or no it’s not and it’s not up to you to decide which one’s right that’s up to the management team of the area that you’re looking at the business unit, department, team, country or city.
You’re looking at: Are they doing what they said they do, match or mismatch, in terms of your intent, in terms of how you’re going to report your findings, that will help you to establish the independence and objectivity in that process.