The entire point of an audit – whether focused on processes, payments, security, or anything else – is to identify problems.
Performed internally or by a third party, an audit is capable of digging into the fine details of the way a business operates, and that usually means uncovering practices and policies that aren’t working, gaps in training, or operational issues that are wasting time and money. Worse, they can identify security or safety problems that are actually putting people in danger!
Unfortunately, identifying problems is only the first step… And if we’re being honest, change is hard.
Far too many companies spend the time and money to perform audits, yet don’t take the necessary steps to address the problems the audit uncovers. The excuses are all the same: it costs too much, we can’t rebuild the process, there are too many moving parts, or the worst one… “We’ve always done it that way.”
If you aren’t taking the results of the audit seriously, there’s no point in even doing them! You may not be able to tackle every issue at once, but you can prioritize the findings, tackle the biggest problems first, and make plans for addressing the rest. Any other approach is a blatant waste of time and money.
If you do act on the findings, however, you can fine tune your business to be more efficient, safer, more profitable, and so much more. Systems aren’t perfect, especially those that evolve, are influenced by people, or change hands as the company grows. Minor variations can go unseen or brushed aside, and compound over time to become major money leaks (or worse). Identifying these troublesome areas of your operations, whether large or small, and taking action to correct them can steer the ship in the right direction.
The point here is to take audit data seriously. If you’re willing to spend the time, effort, money, and disruption to perform in-depth audits (whether in-house or third party), you must also do the hard work of following through with proposed changes. It might not be easy, but it will most certainly be worth it.
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