A Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (QAIP) enables an evaluation of the internal audit activity's conformance with the Definition of Internal Auditing and the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) and an evaluation of whether internal auditors apply the Code of Ethics. The program also assesses the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal audit activity and identifies opportunities for improvement.
All internal audit activities, regardless of industry, sector, or size of audit staff — even those outsourced or co-sourced — must maintain a QAIP that contains both internal and external assessments. External assessments enhance value, as they enable the internal audit activity to evaluate conformance with the Standards; internal audit and audit committee charters; the organization’s risk and control assessment; the effective use of resources; and the use of successful practices. An internal audit activity must obtain an external assessment at least every five years by an independent reviewer or review team to maintain conformance with the Standards.
Internal assessments are ongoing, internal evaluations of the internal audit activity, coupled with periodic self-assessments and/or reviews. If you have not yet established a QAIP, a good first step on the path to quality is to conduct an internal quality assessment. This will establish a benchmark of the internal audit activity that can be used to establish metrics. Over time, these metrics will indicate improvement in areas of partial conformance or nonconformance with the Standards and successful practices.
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