An audit management system is a combination of software and business processes that, when used together, significantly reduce the time and effort necessary for your organization to conduct an audit.
Strong audit management capabilities are essential because as modern risk management becomes ever more complicated, and as ever more regulations require audits as part of compliance, the number of audits companies must undertake keeps marching upward. Planning and executing those audits can be an expensive and complex challenge. Audit management systems keep your audits efficient, coordinated, and (ideally) successful.
What is Audit Management Software?
Audit management software helps audit teams (typically the internal audit team) stay on task. It helps to streamline and organize audit planning and collaboration, such as by providing standards-driven audit checklists that align with your organization’s regulatory compliance requirements.
Most audit software can also integrate with existing document control systems, allowing users to find and access necessary audit program documentation. Last but not least, audit management software can provide an end-to-end audit trail for previous audits conducted within the organization, which preserves a historical record of audit findings and remediation actions suggested at earlier risk assessments.
Why is Audit Management Software Important?
It’s not easy to perform audit fieldwork and compile all audit workpapers in an organized fashion. Audit management software can alleviate those burdens for audit teams in various ways.
- Efficiency and automation. Audit management software automates repetitive tasks. That reduces the time auditors spend on manual processes, which can lead to faster completion of audit cycles.
- Centralized data storage. Storing audit data in a centralized system assures that all relevant information is easily accessible. This is particularly helpful for large organizations where multiple audits might be happening simultaneously.
- Standardization. The software assures that all audits follow a consistent process and methodology. This is especially crucial for organizations that must comply with industry-specific standards, such as HIPAA (for the healthcare sector) or PCI-DSS (for the retail sector).
- Risk management. The software can help auditors identify and prioritize risks so that high-risk areas receive appropriate attention.
- Faster reporting. Modern audit management software typically offers dynamic reporting capabilities. Auditors can generate real-time reports, charts, and dashboards to visualize findings, trends, and areas of concern.
- Document management. Keeping track of various documents, such as audit plans, evidence, responses, and reports, can be challenging without a proper system. The software streamlines document management and assures that all relevant documents are attached to the respective audit records.
- Collaboration. Audit teams can collaborate more effectively by sharing notes, findings, and tasks within the software so everyone works together.
- Regulatory compliance. Many industries have specific regulations and standards they must follow. Audit software often includes features that align with these standards, making it easier for organizations to demonstrate compliance.
- Historical data analysis. The software can store and retrieve data from previous audits, allowing auditors to analyze trends over time, identify recurring issues, and track the organization’s overall progress.
- Scalability. As your business grows, expect the complexity of its audit requirements to increase accordingly. Audit management software can quickly scale to accommodate these growing needs.
- Security. Audit software can provide more secure environments for sensitive audit data, including encryption and role-based access controls.
In short, the benefits of using audit management software are many and compelling.
Opportunities to Automate Audit Activities
Audit management platforms provide much-needed visibility in the form of dashboards and preparation in the form of templates required to kickstart your audit plan into action. In addition, since your audit team will now have your entire audit lifecycle in one centralized location in the software, you can build audit workflows that collect real-time evidence across devices, including mobile devices.
Most audit management platforms these days are cloud-based, which means you aren’t chained to a single device or network to be able to conduct your audit activities. That, in turn, gives your team more flexibility to work across multiple locations. You can also automate document collection and validation behind the scenes instead of spending time and manual effort.
Better Quality and Excellence in Audit Activities
Since there are ready-made planning templates and document workflows for every regulatory and compliance scenario, you can now concentrate on the core activity, especially in an internal audit: conducting a comprehensive risk assessment and finding areas of non-conformance. In addition, audit management software helps you ensure that you can analyze audit evidence consistently and provides a consistent methodology so that your team can spend more time developing and reporting audit observations rather than gathering evidence manually.
Faster Analysis and reporting
As audit management software automates away the repetitive administrative tasks of collecting individual documents, you can spend more time on analysis. In addition, advanced audit management software can help you prepare the proper reporting documentation for every compliance mandate and provide a historical audit trail for audit recommendation actions from previous audits. Lastly, your audit team can customize the reporting in a user-friendly and compelling visualization instead of preparing data-intensive reports, which helps your leadership and related stakeholders interpret the audit findings easily.
What are the Top Features to Look for in Audit Management Software?
We will review some of the essential features to look for in a good Audit Management Software.
Templates and Checklists
You should be able to develop templates from prior audits and utilize them to make creating new audits easier.
Users should be able to generate new audit checklists using auditing software before and during the auditing process.
The finest auditing software makes planning and preparing for an audit simple. Determine, for example, how simple it will be to create checklist questions and establish “pass” values.
You should also be able to use software to guarantee that an audit is completed only when all relevant criteria have been satisfied, and tasks have been accomplished.
Auditing software should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface like any other modern software.
This minimizes or even eliminates the need for training, aids in mistake prevention, and allows for a faster, smoother transition to adopting the program throughout a company.
Ideally, the software supplier should also provide training and support.
Don’t overpay! You can find Subscription-based auditing management software at a reasonable cost. It’s a smart idea to browse about, comparing features, customer service, and costs.
Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) features
Many organizations fail to respond to audit results promptly and effectively. Look for software with CAPA capabilities to ensure that non-compliances and weak areas are addressed correctly.
CAPA features make it simple to begin and monitor corrective actions. In addition, they should oversee and document correct issue solutions.
Audit software should have audit closing and reporting features. Audit reports must be able to analyze audit results, including CAPA outcomes.
Look for software that simplifies collecting input on the audit process and its findings.
Time flies, and audit time might sneak up on you if you’re not cautious. Choose software that allows you to arrange one-time and recurrent audits and send out automated reminders.
Users should be able to attach supporting material to audits using audit management software. This implies that everything connected to an audit may be kept in a centralized, secure digital location.
There are several benefits to using cloud-based applications. It’s typically less expensive and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A certain level of automation helps prevent mistakes, duplication of work, and oversights. It can also significantly minimize the administrative load of the auditing process.
For example, issues that aren’t handled quickly should be escalated automatically. During the process, there should also be automated reminders for particular activities.
Audit Management Systems & Reporting
The key to effective reporting is to present a compelling tale. Instead of delivering data-laden, manually prepared reports, audit management software includes clear, interactive dashboards and visualizations that allow you to offer findings.
Use audit management software to highlight the most valuable insights from each audit, allowing leaders to identify and act on critical learnings swiftly.
Auditing Made Easy with ZenGRC
ZenGRC can help your team go from tedious manual audit planning and processes to an effectively optimized and easier way to stay compliant with its compliance management solution.
ZenGRC unshackles your teams from the intensive manual effort and helps you to automate most of your audit workflows with prebuilt requests and integrations to keep your entire team on track.
It can also significantly improve your risk posture by connecting your risk and compliance program requirements in one platform. As a result, you can gain the dual benefits of strengthening your compliance efforts and improving your risk mitigation ability without spending too much effort.
ZenGRC allows you to leverage expert-built content libraries for more than 20 regulatory and statutory frameworks, saving your team from tremendous fatigue in planning and maintaining compliance with these standards.
In addition, our group of GRC experts keeps the content library up to date at all times, so you know that the cloud-based ZenGRC solution always enables you to adhere to any standards your audit needs to follow.
Schedule a ZenGRC demo today to understand how your organization can stay compliant and secure.