Your one-stop internal audit checklist

Compliance getting you down? Learn how to conduct an internal audit with this easy and comprehensive audit checklist.

Workplace compliance often gets a bad rep. It can be complicated, boring, and costly for your team to get wrong. But it’s a crucial way of making sure your organization is complying with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Internal audits are the best way to stay accountable for your workplace compliance. But don’t panic–completing your audit doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you’re a compliance manager or part of another department, use this checklist to kickstart your internal audit with confidence, knowing you’ve got all bases covered.

Internal audit checklist


Preparing for your internal audit

Define the scope and objectives

It’s a good idea to focus on one specific business area at a time when conducting your internal audit. Clearly defining your scope is key to success. Make a list of each activity and the functions that require review.

Create a plan and set a timeline

Audits vary in size and complexity depending on different variables, so it’s important to be clear on your approach. Create a detailed plan that covers specific steps, areas of focus, and people involved. Set a realistic timeline, and stick to it.

Pro tip:
Agree on how often you should conduct your internal audits. This will help you stay accountable.

Ready your team

Whether you have a compliance tiger team in place, or individuals from other departments (such as IT) conducting your internal compliance audit, ensure everyone is ready and prepared. The key is to stay objective and independent. Remember, your audit team’s goal is to assess your organization fairly and free from any internal pressure.

Notify management and employees

Communication is a vital step in preparing for your internal audit. Make sure everybody is clear on the purpose of the audit and if they will be involved in any way.

Have your documents ready

Prepare documentation for your upcoming internal audit. This includes questions you want to ask as well as notes from previous audit reports.

Completing your internal compliance audit

Meet with management

Kickstart your internal compliance audit by meeting with management to discuss the audit process. This should be a collaborative discussion as well as a chance to address any concerns, questions, or potential problem areas.

Talk to your employees

Interview your employees to better understand your business’s processes and controls (steps within a process). By getting a clear picture from your team, you can then assess if your business practices and policies are compliant.

Remember, every single person in your company handles personal data in some way. Testing them on areas like function knowledge, data management, and processes will help them understand the necessary steps to keep data secure.

Review documentation

Reviewing relevant documents (such as financial statements and tax returns) will help you assess the controls and their effectiveness. The documentation should help you get a clear understanding of your area of focus.

Test and observe

You’ve spoken to folks and reviewed the documents. Now it’s time to watch and learn. Watch how people work and test the controls over a time period to determine their effectiveness.

Meet with management

Finish as you started. Meeting with management is a good opportunity to voice what you’ve concluded from the audit.

Reporting your internal compliance audit

Prepare your draft audit report

You should now conclude the audit and input your findings into a draft report. Remember to include your approach, strategy, and documents reviewed.

Finalize your audit report

Write clearly and avoid it being too long so your audience feels encouraged to read it. Findings should include everything you documented, along with actionable solutions that lead to business improvement.

Offer solutions

Proposing solutions is as important as finding problems. Both work together to ensure your organization is, and stays, compliant.

Create an improvement plan

Now it’s time to take those solutions and figure out how to apply them. Creating an improvement plan will help you stay accountable and track progress.

Submit the findings to leadership

When your report is complete, submit the findings for management approval. Once approved, store it to come back to in your follow-up review.

Follow-up and next steps

Schedule a follow-up review

This meeting should take place between the audit team and leadership team. The follow-up review is designed to evaluate the actions taken on your audit report over the last 6 months.

Ensure the next audit is scheduled

Scheduling your next internal audit is the best way to make sure it doesn’t slip or get deprioritized.

Best practices

Create your compliance management tiger team

Compliance management is increasingly crucial for organizations. Your compliance team should (at least) consist of a compliance manager, data protection officer, and risk management officer.

Offer training

Whether you have a compliance management tiger team or not, it’s important to ensure internal auditors feel equipped and prepared to carry out a thorough audit. Look at the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) for guidance on the International Professional Practices Framework (IPFF) which sets standards for internal compliance audits globally.

Invest in a visitor management solution

At some stage, your internal compliance audit will focus on your operational infrastructure. This includes the management of who comes in and out of your workplace on a daily basis–something extra important now that workplaces are getting busier. Going digital with your visitor management will help you create automated and secure procedures so you can maintain your compliance.

Set a recurring schedule for internal audits

List departments that need regular auditing–HR, Operations, Finance, and Legal is a good start. Internal compliance audits should be done annually at the very least.

Enlist the help of an enterprise-grade workplace platform

Mitigating compliance risks without disrupting your workplace experience might seem daunting. But the right technology can make it easier. It’s smart to invest in a workplace platform that allows you to balance ironclad security compliance and an amazing workplace experience.

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Bring your team back to a safe, flexible workplace

Much like updating your phone or laptop with the latest bug fixes, performing internal audits is important for your business to stay secure and safe. Internal audits also get you ready for external audits, designed to dig deeper into your organizational processes.

Questions about how Envoy can help you stay compliant with seamless visitor management?