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Setting Long-Term Goals For Internal Audit

Dan Swanson | December 5, 2006

As I have discussed in past columns, internal audit efforts must be risk-based and contribute to the long-term assurance needs of the organization and its board. A formal risk-assessment audit must be completed at least annually and the results of that assessment should direct audit priorities.

Over the past five years, a focus on short-term results (quarterly financial results and meeting current regulatory requirements) has driven the priorities of management and consequently the organization toward a short-term perspective. Similarly, internal auditing’s efforts have moved toward this short-term focus, boiling down priorities to whichever audits the company needs to complete in the immediate quarter.

The turn of the calendar year is an excellent time to refocus sights on the long-term horizon. For example, what does the organization want to achieve in the next three to five years, and what does it need to do to get there? Certainly,...

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