Audits: Make Them Part of the Process


Sourcing projects often run at breakneck speed, racing against deadlines and budget constraints. Then, suddenly, the internal or external auditors call, and things can come to a grinding halt. If your project management office (PMO) is running properly, you can prepare for this day, gain additional management support and improve areas that need attention. ISG has worked with multiple IT and BPO infrastructure programs, and in each case, we’ve advised the sourcing program director to consider these Top 5 exercises in preparation for an audit.

1. Build a business case with more than figures and assumptions. Ensure you have clean documentation on all financial aspects, from the design phase to the sourcing phase and all the way through transition and transformation. Make sure your PMO tracks quality gates and documented changes and approvals from senior management in writing. Without a sound business case, you will be sure to hit a roadblock.

2. Live the program governance and reporting. From the outset, define project management processes, including deliverables management, escalation management, issue management, risk management, meeting management, reporting management and budget management. Be sure your PMO has the right tools and experience to handle the project management processes. If you align with your sourcing partner on a reporting governance, live this governance, document your presentations centrally and create protocols with participants. By doing this, you will avoid the slow, error-prone process of fishing information from email inboxes.

3. Manage deliverables. Program management courses preach about the importance of managing the project according to specified deliverables. Though it may be an administrative burden in daily project life, use this process to record final project results and critical documents such as designs, test results, major decisions, contract-relevant milestones or handovers to operation. Prepare to show auditors how you approved and tested the high-level scope before going into operation.

4. Manage the audit process as part of the project. Bring together a strong PMO team with two points of contact for the auditors, including a senior PMO who is experienced with audits and can work independently. The senior PMO will be responsible for each focus area, attend audit meetings and control the information exchange with the auditors. The program director should help set the scene but then only attend audit meetings for an escalated issue or the presentation of the draft report. From the start, cluster the audit into key focus areas, and carefully document the process step by step.

5. Handle findings with aplomb. Ask for a draft of the audit report before the official release. In an open discussion with the audit team, work to settle findings so the result is an accurate report you can use to demonstrate your sourcing program to stakeholders. If there are findings, your PMO should work with the subject matter experts to achieve timely closure. Use the audit report as a chance to demonstrate how you handled the critique professionally and worked to improve your sourcing project’s performance.

ISG successfully accompanies many organizations through their audit projects. Contact us to discuss how ISG can accompany you for a designated audit period.