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Performing Internal Audit of our Accounts System

D

daraghofla

#1
Hi all, I need to perform an internal audit on our accounts process. I haven't a clue where to start. We have zero documentation relating to the process and my only other dealings with the dept. is the odd mention of opportunity cost results.
In short, I don't bother him, he doesn't bother me. I have to audit him in some way though as our accreditor isn't going to accept another excuse.

Any ideas??

Daragh
 
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Le Chiffre

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
This is good.:topic:
Finance is usually excluded from ISO 9001, etc. for no really good reason and leads to a lot of organizations having sloppy, undocumented processes for dealing with it. Having dealt with it myself, I'd strongly recommend everyone apply the same rules of documented processes to the accounting department and bring them in line with the rest of the organization.

[Getting off soapbox...]
Back to the question, firstly identify the work flow undertaken and document the processes if possible. Then audit each one for consistency and correctness to the requirements (in this case, the needs of the company to maintain coherent records and satisfied customers).
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#3
Welcome to the Cove! :bigwave:

It's important to get accounts right, in my view, though many people might not think it's a critical process.

My questions would go something like this:

  • Can you show me what do do please?
  • How do you know what to do - is there a procedure or manual for this? (show me)
  • Is there special paperwork to use - what is it?
  • Is there special software to use - what is it?
  • Where do you keep your data, your records - how is it stored, identified if you need to look it up, protected against damage or theft?
  • Does your paperwork get changed? How can you tell when you're using the latest version of forms or tools?
  • What kind of training and education did you need to do this work? Can I see, please?
  • Who does this when you're not here - what if you won the Powerball and decided to say "Take this job and shove it"? Who is ready to do the work as you are doing it?
  • How can you tell your work is going well or not - what does success look like?
  • What's new here - have there been any improvements in the last several months? How did it go - is it better? How/why?
Stuff like that.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#4
Hi all, I need to perform an internal audit on our accounts process. I haven't a clue where to start. We have zero documentation relating to the process and my only other dealings with the dept. is the odd mention of opportunity cost results.
In short, I don't bother him, he doesn't bother me. I have to audit him in some way though as our accreditor isn't going to accept another excuse.

Any ideas??

Daragh
The fundamental question is: what would drive you to audit your accounting processes? Remember, you should not audit people. You audit processes that comprise a system.

If you are being "forced" to audit accounting as part of your internal audit process for ISO 9001 conformance, then the question is: were the accounting processes identified as part of the QMS? Most organizations don't include accounting as being part of the QMS.

In my opinion, most of the accounting processes are not directly related to the process covered under ISO 9001, but there is one process in particular which has a TREMENDOUS correlation with customer satisfaction, and, thus, should be deemed part of the QMS. I am referring to the BILLING process. Customers might be delighted with the product and/or service delivered. But if they think they are being over charged, dissatisfaction creeps in. Since I do believe that focused audits are much more added value, my suggestion to you is to start this by investigating if you have cases of dissatisfied customers due to billing mistakes. Use these as a triggering point and trail up why wrong invoices were sent to the customers in the first place. It might be that some of them happened due to mistakes in the accounting function, but you might find out that other problems might have been triggered by miscommunication up the line. If you focus on this aspect of the connection QMS/accounting processes, I think you can come up with worthy findings (findings in the proper meaning, of ISO 19011) that your organization might benefit from.

Good luck.
 
D

daraghofla

#5
Hi all, and thanks for your help.
Your comments are all very helpful but I haven't won an argument with our accreditor yet, and we've already argued about the ommision of accounting. In other words, and all arguments about scope aside, I've gotta face up to the accountant.
The billing suggestion is good, but unfortunately not really an issue. We bill a parent company, but ultimately we work off stock shares. If the franchise succeeds, so do we. The sales subsidiaries are the ones who could benefit from such an audit.
The initial suggestion regarding creation of documentation and process flows (a standard external audit) is also very sound, but it sounds like an IA that'll have me working for a month, tinkering in an area where I'm not needed. I'd rather spend my time in areas where the need is greater.(He gets audited externally 3 weeks out every year so there isn't much need in me trying to pick holes)

So, the winner is the responsibility and authority. The parent company provides the back-up. I'll audit that aspect.

Thanks for all your help, much appreciated.
Daragh
 
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