Why Failing Self-Audits Can Be A Good Thing for IT Asset Managers
Self-audits help to prepare organizations for the real thing. It is like the practice test before you have to take the real test. You learn all about your testing habits, your weaknesses and strong points, how long it takes you to complete the test, and how you performed. The same can be applied to self-audits. You learn where the weak points and strong points are, how long it takes for the organization to gather the needed information, and most importantly, what areas the organization has failed at. Though the IT Asset Manager does not want to fail any kind of audit, whether it is a self-audit or a real audit, failure during a self-audit can be a good thing.
Why failure is a good thing
Failing a self-audit is devastating for an IT Asset Manager, but it actually has many benefits. The failure is a wakeup call for an IT Asset Manager. It forces them to realize that their IT Asset Management (ITAM) program is not perfect and it needs further evaluation. This is important because now the improvements can begin and the IT Asset Manager has a starting point.
A failed self-audit allows the IT Asset Manager to identify problem areas. What went wrong? How was the organization breaking compliance? What was the organization struggling with? How can it be done better? What processes need to be taken to make the organization pass? These are questions the IT Asset Manager is forced to answer and analyze when a self-audit is failed.
Another perk to failing a self-audit is that the IT Asset Manager and the organization gets better at handling real audits. The failure forces the organization to continue performing self-audits, giving them useful practice. The extra practice will improve the responses to actual audit events, which means that when the real audit happens, the organization will be well-prepared for the event.
A final happy note from the failed self-audit is that the IT Asset Manager caught it before an actual auditor, saving the organization a bulk in fines. Since the errors were caught, the IT Asset Manager has an opportunity to fix the problems and be ready for when the real audit comes.
The more an IT Asset Manager prepares for an audit, the higher the chances of success. Here are a few practices that will help an IT Asset Manager be ready to take on a self-audit:
• Create goals before beginning a self-audit: Creating goals allows an IT Asset Manager to know what direction to move the audit processes. Is the only goal to maintain compliance? Is the goal to find cost-savings opportunities along with maintaining compliance? Does the IT Asset Manager want to improve their ITAM program in certain areas? Having a direction in mind when planning out how audits will be handled is what will allow the organization to pass self-audits and enhance other ITAM program areas
• Meet self-audits with positivity: Audits bring opportunities for improvement, especially self-audits. They can be stressful at times, so easing the stress and trying to create a positive atmosphere will make others more determined to complete the self-audit, rather than becoming overwhelmed and nervous. An attitude that encourages others will bring more cooperation from involved parties and less hesitation
• Research to find any changes in legislation and regulations: Keeping up with governance is vital in remaining compliant. Looking for any changes that might impact an organization and making necessary alterations is how to keep an organization safe
• Prepare involved parties in handling audit processes: When the audit response team is prepared, the self-audit will be handled much smoother. Preparing the team will entail learning about different team members and their roles and having informative meetings with them. Educating audit team members is what will ultimately lead to achievement
While failing a self-audit can really damage an IT Asset Manager’s pride, the failed self-audit can be turned into a useful, positive thing. Learning where things went wrong is how one gets better, and analyzing and critiquing an ITAM program will allow an IT Asset Manager to know where to start improving.
Ingalls-Fitzgerald, R. (2019, March 01). The Importance of Self Audits. Retrieved July 09, 2020, from https://www.aapc.com/blog/45960-the-importance-of-self-audits/