The word “audit” is scary. Cue sweaty palms, racing minds, and a general feeling of unease and panic. However, with an internal audit, the ball is in your court and the benefits greatly outweigh those pesky panicked feelings.
Instead of fearing the audit, embrace it. It provides crucial insight into your business’ overall effectiveness and is designed to support improvement.
Internal audits aim to assess:- Functionality, Risk and Solutions.
Interestingly, a terrifying number of small business owners believe that their size somehow protects them. This false sense of security is exactly what sets them up as perfect targets for security breaches.
Truth is, size does not matter. Every business, small and big, should be aware of their potential risk factors in order to best be prepared to fend them off.
This is the possible number one benefit of an internal audit: protection and proper planning. Whether it be risk-avoidance or operational, an audit is like exploratory surgery- open it up, take a close look at all the working parts, then assess, identify and solve any problems.
An internal audit is also a great way to perform a quality control check of sorts.
Taking a closer look at each stage of your process (whether it be recruitment and hiring, customer service, production, etc.) allows for small tweaks to ensure at each stage, performance is at its best, improving overall quality.
It is also a great time to look back at your business plan. Are you hitting your goals? Are you sticking to your mission? Have you altered, deviated from or completely strayed from the plan? Take the opportunity to realign.
In short, an internal audit:
- Protects assets
- Reduces risk of fraud
- Improves efficiency
- Secures financial integrity
- Ensures compliance
- Establishes procedures for future monitoring.
Assessing your internal controls every once in a while is just like an oil change for your car. It is necessary, though you can push it pretty far before the eventual breakdown. Steer clear of the breakdown with an internal audit.