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Are You Ready For Your Audit?

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November 6, 2019

In reflecting on your childhood, is there a particular movie genre that stands out?  (excluding animated Disney classics!). 

For me, the 90s were distinctly marked by films that had some military relevance : Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump,  and who could forget the hilarious Major Payne. 

Growing up among a family of army cadets, I was no stranger to triple-digit pushups and other forms of physical exertion designed to create discipline– in fact, they were part of a daily routine. 

Yet, what remains constant in each film’s plot line, besides the presence of basic training camp, is the inevitable life lesson: trust the process.

This week, we’re asking what processes matter for entrepreneurs to achieve growth, impact and success?

The answer: audits. No, really, auditing is both a powerful tool and process. 

The Big 4 will tell you that the purpose of an audit is the ensure adequate controls and promote financial transparency. Yet, at its core, an audit is nothing more than an independent evaluation. One that is intentionally designed to engender trust and confidence by the public or private consumers. 

So here are five quick thoughts on this process:

  1. An audit is practice test for challenges. These practice tests build character. Audits ensure internal (and external) processes are operating in a manner that can withstanding risk, and however unlikely, minimize the chances of future organizational crises.
  2. Just like a regular gym routine, a regular audit practices is a form of conditioning.  Indeed, it is often the small things that throw us off  our purpose. Whether through the negative reinforcement of the fear of failing, or gold-star like appeal of passing, an audit natural disincentives cheating or cutting corners.  Instead, it forces organizations to condition their procedures the right way.
  3. An audit is one of the best tools for marco and mirco awareness of what is happening within your organization.  Audits shed light on the good, the bad, and the realistic opportunities for improvement.  Often, we get caught in the hamster wheel of getting through the day, the week, the month, the quarter and ultimately the year. Audits require that we stop, look, and listen as we assess the current state of affairs.
  4. Audits, particularly when written in plain English, provide clarity.  Once the review is complete, leaders are armed with the knowledge  and language on what , where and how they need help or special assistance to take the organization to new levels of efficiency and growth.
  5. Robust in nature, audits are detailed, intrusive, exhaustive and overwhelming.  Yet, they offer a great inventory of our successes.  The process of cataloging sales, revenue or even disbursement selections provide a unique look-back on how far the organization has come.  For many leaders, forced reflection is often the only reflection undertaken. And, it never hurts to celebrate the #smallwins.

Finally, as 2019 comes to a close, consider performing an internal audit within the next 60 days.  The scope, topic and testing procedures are entirely up to you. If you feel so inclined, let us know: what will you audit before 2020?

Cheers,

Leigh-Ann / Venture Cafe Miami

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