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Common Challenges of the Audit Process

“What are the common challenges companies face throughout the audit process?” It’s a question often asked by proactive leaders who want to avoid the missteps and oversights made by other organizations.

Many executives and corporate compliance leaders say there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done, or even to just move things forward in a timely manner. It’s also common for some employees to feel like their organization’s compliance strategy is reactionary, driven by customer requests rather than established as a strategic initiative from the top down – and they’re not wrong. 

In this blog, we discuss the most prevalent audit challenges hindering organizations today and how the commitment to pursuing a quality audit can alleviate many of these common issues to pave the way for a more streamlined, efficient audit process. 

Challenge: Limited staff resources and budget constraints

One of the most common challenges organizations face during the audit process is a shortage of sufficient staff resources and budget allocated to compliance. In fact, only 20% of companies have a dedicated compliance department – most put IT in charge of compliance. 

That means IT professionals must manage compliance programs on top of their other responsibilities. Two-thirds of organizations spend at least 3 months each year preparing for each audit or assessment, which means teams in charge of compliance are spending a significant amount of time and money to prepare for and manage the process. 

Because of this, it’s not surprising that many organizations find themselves strapped for resources and budget when it’s time to complete an audit. Some organizations may think the solution is to find the cheapest, quickest audit available so they can check the box and move on, but we believe that choosing the right partner will allow you to have an efficient process without sacrificing quality. 

Solution: Choose an expert audit partner 

Organizations faced with limited staffing and budget can alleviate these challenges by working with a seasoned auditor who acts as a trusted partner throughout the entire compliance journey. A-LIGN has decades of experience and technology to streamline the audit process and help your business work as efficiently as possible. By working with an expert audit firm, your team can free up valuable time and resources while ensuring your business is audit ready. 

Challenge: Complexity in conducting multiple audits 

Many businesses are tasked with adhering to numerous frameworks, resulting in the necessity to conduct more than one audit and/or assessment each year. A recent survey found that 92% of organizations conduct more than one audit each year. Given the depth of these unique frameworks, preparation for audits can be a time-consuming endeavor, and can even result in duplicated efforts across multiple audits. Organizations that have siloed teams or departments might also inadvertently gather the same evidence repeatedly to be used at various points in time. 

Due to these complexities, many organizations find it difficult to allocate the correct resources to navigate different frameworks and complete all the required assessments in a timely, accurate manner. 

Solution: Consolidate efforts across audits 

Collaborating with an audit firm with expertise in a variety of frameworks can help streamline and consolidate your team’s audit efforts. With a breadth and depth of services, your audit team at A-LIGN will have the expertise to identify any overlaps to consolidate all your audits into one strategic audit plan. This ensures a consistent, standardized approach that provides a more comprehensive view of an organizations’ compliance posture. Plus, when leveraging A-LIGN’s audit management technology, users can easily link one piece of evidence to multiple audit requests, further streamlining efforts across frameworks. 

By consolidating an audit into a single annual event, organizations can expect reduced employee workload and the ability to seamlessly and efficiently complete multiple audits. The efficiencies gained in audit consolidation also reduce the amount of time required to complete each audit. 

Challenge: Tedious and manual evidence collection 

The manual, repetitive tasks associated with evidence collection can plague the efficiency and quality of the audit process. With a scattered, de-centralized audit program spanning multiple vendors, different teams in an organization may spend dozens of hours searching for the same pieces of evidence. In an environment where teams have to do more with less, every hour counts. Manual evidence collection can result in a significant amount of time and resources that could be better allocated elsewhere.  

Solution: Leverage GRC platforms 

Organizations can save time and resources and streamline evidence collection when they work with an experienced auditor and leverage leading government, risk management, and compliance (GRC) technology. 

With A-LIGN’s strategic partnerships with top GRC providers like Vanta, Drata, and AuditBoard, businesses can use integrations to ease the burden of evidence collection and foster an efficient audit process with the help of cutting-edge automation. 

Comprehensive GRC software can also help with: 

  • Monitoring your security program in real time 
  • Gaining visibility into risks across your business 
  • Demonstrating compliance to customers via trust centers and questionnaire automation 

Common challenges of the audit process: Key takeaways

In the face of challenges such as tedious evidence collection, staffing and budget constraints, and the complexity of managing multiple audits, many organizations find themselves adopting a reactive approach, often resulting in inefficiencies and disorganization during the audit process. 

To address these issues, organizations should take a proactive approach to managing audits as a key business function. Working with an experienced audit partner, consolidating audit efforts, and leveraging leading GRC technology can create a more efficient audit process and allow teams to feel confident in their compliance strategy. 

If you’re looking for a single provider approach for an efficient, high-quality audit experience, A-LIGN is here to help. Our experts will guide you through your assessment across the scope of each major framework while helping you get the most out of the audit process.  

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