Effective Audit Report Writing

What you will gain from this seminar:

  • Learn a process that can improve your writing and cut your writing time in half
  • Practice your report writing skills in hands-on exercises
Who should attend:
  • Auditors at all experience levels
  • No prerequisites

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Two-Day Seminar Outline

Introduction
- Unlearning bad habits: school writing vs. business writing
- Why is writing hard? Barriers you
can remove
- Why is writing audit reports so
very hard? Unique challenges of audit reporting

The Foundation: Audience and Purpose
- Communication vs. self-expression
- How to identify:

  • Your department's most important customers
  • What each customer needs from your audit reports
  • How to exceed each customer's expectations
- The eight critical attributes of a good audit report
- Exercises:
  • Identify and rank your department's most important customers
  • analyze each customer's needs and expectations

The Thought Process: Developing Audit Findings

- How to develop effective findings and recommendations:
  • The five attribute approach
  • Participative reporting
- Exercises:
  • Develop findings using the five attribute approach
  • Prepare for participative discussion to develop recommendation with your customer

The Writing Process: Getting It Down On Paper
- How to make good writing easy:
  • Use the “smart” writing process
  • Follow a good pattern
- The three steps in the “smart” writing process – keeping them separate is key to success
- An approach to outlining so simple and helpful you'll want to use it
- The paragraph model: use it and cut your writing time in half
- Exercises:
  • Plan and organize audit comments
  • Write audit comments without editing
Trends and Innovations in Audit Reports
- Alternate rating systems
- Techniques to give credit where credit is due


Self-Editing

- How to read what you wrote, not what you think you wrote
- Getting the fog out - short sentences, simple words
- Getting the life in - action verbs, concrete words
- Persuading the reader - positive words, using the reader's jargon
- The four step approach to powerful self-editing
- Exercises:
  • Self-edit to reduce fog factor
  • Self-edit to improve persuasiveness
  • Perform writing/organizing/editing exercises, with immediate feedback from your peers and the instructor

Review, Revision, and Other Hateful Things
- Why do we do this to each other? The typical review/revision process
- How to cut revisions in half and reduce issuance time from several weeks to one day
- Exercises:
  • Give constructive feedback to a peer
  • Analyze your department's report issuance process; find bottlenecks; streamline

Format: Making It Look Professional

- Desktop publishing with your word processor
- Tricks of the trade: using fonts, white space, borders, boxes, etc.
- Exercise:
  • Redesign your department's report format