Advanced Report Writing
In this workshop, the participants rewrite the conclusion (opinion) section of a real re-port they bring to the workshop.
The workshop provides the participants with strategies and techniques for supporting your overall rating and risk awareness rating (if you use this approach). To do this, the participants need to learn how to synthesise issue and risk details and consider positive audit results to prepare a brief commentary for busy executives.
We avoid the ‘copy and paste’ approach, in which authors select the most significant issues and paste them into an executive summary. Rather, we teach auditors to focus on what we call the ‘lift-ride pitch’. If you got on a lift with an executive who asked you about a recent audit, what would you tell him or her? Would you send a positive, negative or mixed mes-sage? Would you focus on, issues, controls in place, well-managed risks, residual risks, root causes, quantifiable results or actions?
To help participants understand how to deliver an executive message, we include several worksheets and a questionnaire to help them think strategically about consolidating de-tails into executive themes.
Representative questions from these worksheets follow:
- When the audit started, how aware was management of its risks and the controls needed to manage those risks?
- Is the audited entity effectively managing its business risks?
- If so or if not, what do executives need to know about the entity’s risks?
- What might they want to know?
- Do executives have hot buttons that are relevant to your results?
- Do executives need to be informed only? Do they need to react or be prepared?
Using the worksheets, auditors learn (1) how much information to provide; (2) how and when to present positiveversus negative information; and (3) when, whether and how to quantify the information. We encourage participants to continue to use these worksheets after the workshop is over.
Finally, we teach the participants how to write that information using both paragraphs and bulleted lists, focusing on making the summary quick and easy to read.
We also include techniques for selecting and presenting scope and background infor-mation (if your reports contain these sections), again focusing on information that is relevant to executives. Background should not replace an annual report. On the other hand, it needs to provide sufficient information to put the report (scope, issues and risks) in perspective.
Before attending this workshop, participants must have previously attended an Audit Report writing course or 1-day seminar or an Audit Communication Strategies course or 1-day workshop.