Let’s Talk: The Nature of Remote, or E-Audits

As the nature of simply existing in the 21st century changes alongside rapid advancements in technology, so too has the way in which traditional means of auditing are being thrown out the window in favor of remote, or e-audits. New things, however, can be less than welcomed by some, particularly leaders that are more traditional in their understanding of business and technology; it’s not their fault either- unfamiliarity can often breed fear. Let’s take a look at an expert’s definition on the topic, and later unpack some of the biggest benefits in-store for you and your organisation if you were to join the e-auditing club tomorrow.

Author, master’s holder and expert on the topic, Shauna Wilson defines an e-audit as “a systematic, independent, and documented process to obtain evidence through electronic means to determine the extent of conformity to the audit criteria,” noting there has been a radical gravitation towards remote audits in our exponentially technologically-connected world. She also notes that “e-auditing is an efficient and effective method for risk-based thinking, working with external providers to ensure controls are in place, reviewing product-related issues [in] real-time, and enhancing understanding among all interested parties.”

“Companies that invest in e-auditing allow remote processes and can leverage and standardize common processes across distant locations. Rather than refuse e-auditing methods, training to use technology while facilitating an adult should be a priority of internal and external auditors,” she argues.

The latter point, I believe, is particularly important as we’re unpacking the topic. While some in leadership positions might have had a solid point in the early stages of the technology-driven auditing revolution, questioning the legitimacy of this newest dot-com fad, as is obvious to see, remote auditing is here to stay. Not only that, it’s here to make the lives of your quality assurance manager, the CEO, even the lowest-sitting employee in your organisational chart that little bit easier with audits that can be carried out in an extremely timely, accurate and convenient manner.

As Shauna Wilson continues to explain in her piece, “validating an e-audit relies on the technology used and the auditor’s skill to facilitate a virtual meeting while coordinating with remote location to find non-conforming evidence,” so you can see that while it might be a relatively new, tech-accelerated opportunity for organisations, e-auditing is going to stick around.

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