Why We Need More Agile Auditing Resources in the World
Workiva’s new e-book adds to the increasing list of resources available to learn agile auditing.
Discovering agile auditing
In early 2018, I found myself contemplating a new auditing methodology, agile auditing. At the time, I was renewing my audit function's strategic plan, which included enhancing our consulting services. Agile auditing methodology based on the scrum process framework was becoming a hot topic in auditing circles. It was said to be very well suited for enhancing collaboration and dealing with complexity in projects, among other qualities. These were important aspects for my team to improve on in our strategic plan. My curiosity piqued, and I started the journey of learning more about this thing called agile auditing.
I soon found that there was very little information available on the topic. There was plenty of information about agile software development, which was helpful, but almost no practical resources for learning how to apply agile to the internal auditing process. I was able to pick up bits and pieces here and there from conferences and events hosted by professional services firms. While these were useful, they didn't provide the insights or a roadmap to determine if agile auditing was a viable approach for my team's needs.
So, I did what you always do when you don't understand a topic and can't find learning resources—I wrote a book about it. No joke. My qualifications to undertake this endeavor were questionable, of course. But hey, I had learned enough by this time to almost not be dangerous. And there was undoubtedly an unmet need in the market, so I thought good enough. Off I went tap-tap-tapping on my computer keyboard, wearing out the delete key in the process. Let's just say there were a lot of virtual wadded-up sheets of paper thrown at the virtual wastebasket.
In all seriousness though, what made it possible for me to help fill this learning resource void was what makes the internal auditing professional community so terrific. My fellow internal auditors are always willing to share what they have learned with others. I was fortunate to connect with a presenter at one of the conferences I attended who had implemented agile auditing using scrum. Not only was this fellow chief audit executive (CAE) more than willing to discuss their journey with me during multiple phone calls, but they also invited me to spend time asking questions and learning from their team's trailblazing at their office.
Writing the book on agile auditing
Fast-forward a few short years (ok, the last couple of years have been looooong), and my book, Agile Auditing: Transforming the Internal Auditing Process, is now available from The IIA bookstore. I know, shameless plug, but I figure it's alright since I don't get any compensation from ongoing sales. It is just one of a growing number of resources out there. With increased frequency, various authors and organizations are sharing their experiences, insights, lessons learned, and how-to's through publications and facilitated training on the growing popularity of agile auditing. The learning resource gap is finally narrowing.
Become more agile
Speaking of the growing list of agile auditing resources, one of the newest is available from the fine folks at Workiva. It's a new, free e-book titled 6 Steps for a More Agile Approach to Risk Management Strategies—Right Now. It's an easy read and a good resource if you are just getting started. While not a deep dive into specific agile auditing methodology, this e-book does an excellent job of simplifying a somewhat nebulous topic for beginners. And its succinct, to-the-point format won't put you to sleep (apologies to any of you insomniacs out there!).
Some of the topics discussed are:
- The agile mindset that originates from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (a key driver of agile value)
- The value case for considering an agile approach
- Conformance with professional standards
- Six steps important to consider in an agile transition
These six steps do a great job of setting you up for transition. It starts with zooming out and thinking beyond the annual plan. While our personal lives and the way we work change rapidly, risk profiles do as well. By solely relying on an annual plan to define your risk profiles, you can easily ignore what really matters throughout the year.
Embracing an agile mindset and methodology will spur your approach to become more incremental and able to react to changes as they occur. This can lead to a more iterative process for audit reviews rather than waiting until the end of an audit. And that’s just the beginning.
So, if you're contemplating an agile implementation like I was or you want to learn what the buzz is all about, this e-book is a good starting point in your agile auditing journey. Check it out.
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