Global Best Practice - Audits

During an audit, documents and business processes are thoroughly reviewed and examined by either in-house staff or independent experts. Following an audit, the procurement department will receive a detailed report that can also include a management letter or findings. Procurement professionals should prepare for audits by regularly conducting self-assessments in order to readily provide current documents and data that an auditor may request. There are three primary types of audits that are of concern for procurement professionals: compliance, financial, and performance. This practice outlines the different elements of the three primary types of audits and includes steps that procurement professionals should take to prepare for an audit. It also outlines the steps that procurement professionals will take during and after an audit. As a foundation, procurement professionals should be knowledgeable about all relevant laws to ensure their practices comply with those laws. Performing regular self-assessments in-house will help internal procurement teams understand what their weaknesses are so they can improve their processes prior to undergoing an official audit. Using checklists can be extremely beneficial to ensure that compliance is being met on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Audits can be triggered by major changes in an agency's procurement operations that can result from changes to the agency itself. Therefore, conducing regular self-assessments that document changes in organizational structures and processes along with management change requests, changes in staff, changes in law, and notices of litigation can ensure that procurement is able to present up-to-date data and information when requested by an auditor.