5 Tips for Great Remote Internal Audit Collaborations

According to Gallup, by October 2020, nearly 60% of U.S. workers were working remotely in some capacity as businesses adjusted to the realities of COVID-19.


Remote work brings a unique set of challenges, including the need to maintain effective collaboration. This is especially true for internal audit teams. Collaboration is, and has always been, paramount to internal auditors. To do their jobs effectively, efficiently, and securely, they rely on clear communication and constant information-sharing, both with team members and clients.


Without in-person communication, executing a remote audit is especially challenging. Nevertheless, practitioners are still required to meet the same high auditing standards and deliver the same high-quality documentation results.


With remote work likely to remain a part of the audit landscape in some form for the foreseeable future, organizations need to ensure that collaboration can be done effectively. Armed with the right tools, internal audit teams can go beyond simply fulfilling their duties to actually enhancing the overall collaborative experience for both themselves and auditees.


Here are five tips to help you make the most of remote collaborations.


Stay in contact.


While working remotely, it is especially important to remain in close contact with team members and clients to remain aligned. Open communication lines are imperative for keeping information flowing, audits on track and people accountable. For example, by scheduling short, recurring meetings with stakeholders to discuss the status of an audit, you can fill information gaps, see potential roadblocks, and capture any pressing concerns.


Be Secure.


Sensitive data is the currency of internal audit, which makes cybersecurity an important issue when collaborating remotely. Rigorous measures need to be in place to ensure all parties and their tools are compliant when handling data. This includes having the proper accessibility to, and security certification for, any platforms used. You must also ensure the confidentiality of all information provided. A secure infrastructure gives everyone peace of mind, knowing that their collaboration processes can be trusted.


Go Agile.


Building an agile culture in an audit team can help overcome some of the distance involved with remote collaboration. Through iterative planning and fast, proactive communication, agile principles keep stakeholders connected and accountable. For example, short, daily “stand-up” meetings encourage team members to provide status updates and incrementally deliver on objectives. Also available are Smart Audit Management platforms that are specifically designed to promote agility in auditing by helping teams prioritize tasks and deliver on time.


Go Cloud.


Cloud computing is the engine that drives remote collaboration. When every stakeholder is connected to the same underlying data — which in the cloud is always updated and accurate — the normal process barriers of on-premise software are eliminated. Legacy systems are often slow and divorced from each other, making them prone to inaccurate data and difficult to optimize for collaboration. In the cloud, both auditing teams and clients can create and share data, either on their own time or in real-time collaboration. A secure and accessible cloud computing system means that communication flourishes, effectively streamlining collaboration.


Advanced Audit Analytics.


With remote work at its current peak, the amount of information being shared can quickly overwhelm traditional auditing practices. Auditing teams therefore need to move data online, where advanced analytic tools can be integrated seamlessly into their collaborative process. By leveraging powerful data analytics, the number of variables that can be processed and analyzed multiplies exponentially. You can zoom out to identify patterns and roadblocks, or zoom in to catch details normally overlooked. With better data, you can deliver more cost-effective and accurate audits, in less time. And with robust analytics, you can paint a clear, concise picture of your audit — quite literally — through enhanced visualization features and dashboards.


Tools built for collaboration


Working remotely is easy with the right tools in place, and Caseware puts collaboration at the heart of our platform, which is:


  • Cloud-based: Caseware opens communication lines and facilitates information-sharing, so agile audit teams are always on the same real-time, updated page with each other and with auditees.


  • Secure: Caseware makes proper security certification, accessibility, and infrastructure its top priorities, so you are always compliant when handling data. With security always baked in, Caseware is the safer way to collaborate remotely.


  • Integrated: Caseware can seamlessly bring together the power of your respective processes into a unified system that enhances your data analytics and delivers a robust, value-rich audit.


Remote work is here to stay. To help you meet this reality, Caseware helps you build and nurture the collaborative relationships that are fundamental to remote auditing, creating a better overall experience for audit teams and their clients alike.


Learn how to make your remote audits easy and secure. Get your copy of the 2021 State of Internal Audit Report today.