Internal Audit Reports
Internal auditors typically issue reports at the end of each audit that summarize their findings, recommendations, and any responses or action plans from management. An audit report may have an executive summary; a body that includes the specific issues or findings identified and related recommendations or action plans; and appendix information such as detailed graphs and charts or process information. Each audit finding within the body of the report may contain five elements, sometimes called the "5 C's":
- Condition: What is the particular problem identified?
- Criteria: What is the standard that was not met? The standard may be a company policy or other benchmark.
- Cause: Why did the problem occur?
- Consequence: What is the risk/negative outcome (or opportunity foregone) because of the finding?
- Corrective action: What should management do about the finding? What have they agreed to do and by when?
The recommendations in an internal audit report are designed to help the organization achieve its goals, which may relate to operations, financial reporting or legal/regulatory compliance. They may relate to effectiveness (i.e., whether goals were met or compliance with standards was achieved) or efficiency (i.e., whether the outputs were generated with minimum inputs).
Audit findings and recommendations also relate to particular assertions about transactions, such as whether the transactions audited were valid or authorized, completely processed, accurately valued, processed in the correct time period, and properly disclosed in financial or operational reporting, among other elements.
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