How's Your Audit-Life Balance?

As in many other professions, internal auditors constantly struggle for a healthy work-life balance.

That’s been more challenging than ever to accomplish. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatic changes in work environments and collaboration habits. For some auditors in particular, the changes meant a redistribution of duties and additional work on their plates.

In our survey of 351 internal auditors, we queried them about whether they’re currently achieving an ideal work-life balance in their roles and what factors come into play.

Here’s a look at some of our key findings.

Most Auditors Are Working More Than They Have in the Past

When asked how many hours they work each week, the majority of auditors (61%) said between 41-50 hours. Of those polled, 19% said they worked 40 or less, and 16% said they typically worked between 51-60 hours per week. Only 4% said they worked 61 or more hours per week.

Increasing workloads are also of concern for auditors with 50% reporting a significant increase in workload, and the other half reporting their workload has stayed the same or reduced in size and scope.

Auditors’ Workload Is Increasing

Auditors were able to select more than one factor, and many found that multiple considerations had an impact on their workload this year.

Time Management

Next, we looked at how our auditors spend their time at work, and where they think they’re spending more time than necessary.

When asked what they spent too much time on, results were mixed, with three answers coming in with similar rankings.

The top result, with 42%, was reporting, followed closely by audit follow-up (41%) and collecting evidence (40%).

Other factors internal auditors identified as having an impact on time management were:

  • Staff meetings — 34%
  • Issue remediation — 33%
  • Timekeeping — 19%

Satisfaction at Work

A significant component of achieving work-life balance is feeling satisfied that you’re accomplishing what you want to within your role. To avoid burnout, employees should feel like they’re making meaningful contributions, have opportunities to collaborate with peers and adequate chances to further their careers.

For auditors, responses were varied, with some reporting greater workplace satisfaction than others.

While these findings with regard to the work-life balance of auditors is mostly positive, 38% of respondents said “somewhat,” when asked about the extent of their collaborative network and 13% said they didn’t have a collaborative network at all.

Just 24% said they don’t have opportunities to further their training and career progression, as opposed to the 76% who did; another 24% reported having much more to offer their organizations, but 76% are happy with their contributions.

Data and Visibility

Another critical aspect driving work-life balance is how easy auditors find it to access the data they need to conduct their audits and their visibility into organizational risk. As part of the 3LOD, they may struggle if there are silos between teams that make it harder to conduct their audits and more difficult to provide valuable insights to inform decision-making.

When asked whether they had confidence that they were auditing the correct parts of the business, 61% said yes, while 11% said no and 28% said they weren’t sure.

Over half (56%) of auditors said that they had visibility into the risks faced by their organization, and how they tie back to their audits. More than a third (38%) said “somewhat,” and 6% said they didn’t.

As far as getting the data they need to do their jobs, only 14% said it was never an issue. Another 36% of respondents said it was challenging and 50% said it was “sometimes” challenging.

Likely due to these issues with access to data and lack of visibility, a portion of respondents said they weren’t comfortable making decisions based on sample testing. While 75% said that sample testing provided enough insight, a quarter of respondents said they were only confident when 100% of the data had been tested.

Workflow and Organization

We also asked auditors about their workflow and their recommendations for streamlining the auditing process.

When asked how well their current audit workflow management was working, only 7% said they wouldn’t make any changes to the process. Many (44%) said their current solution involved a combination of technology and manual processes; 33% said there was room for improvement; 13% said their solution was “a spreadsheet, PowerPoint, and Word nightmare” and 1% said their current solution was not working at all.

Technology for Improving Audit-Life Balance

From the results, we see that most auditors are working more than they have in the past, and many of them are focusing a lot of their time on tracking down data and creating reports manually.

They want to efficiently automate processes to spend more of their time analyzing data and providing useful insights to the business. This will give them a greater sense of purpose in their work and help them to avoid burnout.

So what’s the solution for the 93% of respondents who don’t think their audit management workflow is working perfectly right now?

Investing in the right technology will help auditors collaborate with their peers, automate workflows and generate data insights that will drive the business forward.

The Benefits of a More Balanced Work Environment

Using automated technology to streamline your auditing workflow makes your auditors more likely to feel a greater sense of satisfaction in their work. Rather than hunting down data and struggling to break out of siloed work environments, auditors will seamlessly collaborate with peers across the 3LOD to surface valuable data insights, helping the business reduce risk and make better decisions. They’ll waste less time on mindless busywork, concentrating on tasks that require strategic insight. And ultimately, they’ll be able to accomplish more in less time, enabling them to take breaks more frequently and dedicate more time to personal pursuits.

Want to learn more about how technology can help create a high functioning audit team? Discover Diligent Audit Management and transform your organization.
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