Co-Sourcing Your Higher Ed Internal Audit Has Benefits Beyond Cost Savings
Internal audit (IA) departments are essential to mitigating and managing risk in higher education institutions, particularly as regulations change, operations expand, information technology creates vulnerabilities, and financial performance pressures increase.
Just the same, many colleges and universities are forced to place budgetary constraints on their IA departments, requiring more to be accomplished with each dwindling dollar spent. Co-sourcing your school’s internal audit may very well help you strike the balance between risk management and budgetary prudence, all while adding extra benefit to your IA department.
Here are five additional advantages to co-sourcing your internal audit functions that might not have occurred to you.
1. Two heads are better than one
Adding a co-sourced team to your own IA department means more people are looking out for the best interests of the institution and the success of your internal audit function. Audit efficiencies continue to improve over time as your co-sourced ally comes to more deeply understand your school’s operations, strategic direction, and audit needs. Together, the combined team is better at spotting and mitigating risks before problems occur.
2. You have more control over projects that matter most
Co-sourcing allows your IA leaders to select which areas they would like to oversee directly and those they will instead delegate to the co-sourced team. Most IA departments will retain scoping, performing, documenting, and reporting projects and turn over supporting functions to the assisting party. This frees up more internal resources in your own IA department, so you can keep control of highly sensitive yet essential projects, such as fraud investigations, independent of the co-sourced provider.
3. You add considerable technical and industry knowledge
A co-sourced IA team usually brings a depth of experience and knowledge from the work its people have done at other higher education institutions. This often includes related external audit exposure that can considerably improve your IA functions, such as internal control assessments, information technology reviews, performance assessments, program review simulations, and risk assessments. A co-sourced team with a broad background can greatly enhance the performance of your IA department and teach your in-house people new skills.
4. Staffing needs become more manageable throughout the year
Recruiting, training, and retaining staff (particularly at the junior level) can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly when project volume tends to wax and wane throughout the year. A co-sourced function can be structured in a way to provide consistent staffing when you actually need it. You can potentially save money during downtimes, while still keeping experienced people familiar with your needs and protocols on standby, ready to work when you are.
5. Your people can have the luxury of pursuing their passions
Teams reach greater success and satisfaction when members have more freedom to use their strengths and passions in their work. Co-sourcing can also unburden your IA department of some of its routine tasks and give your people the latitude to more fully develop and apply their talents in alignment with your institution’s needs and goals. The upshot is that co-sourcing the IA function gives the department immediate access to specialized resources and experienced professionals, ultimately enhancing the department’s performance and impact across the institution.
How we can help
CLA’s co-sourced higher education professionals can enhance your internal audit process by adding our team’s talent to yours. We can help you properly evaluate your control environment, improve business productivity, and manage interdependencies among your governance, risk, and compliance activities.