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This webinar will provide the basic principles for writing effective audit observations. The audit observations represent the end result of weeks of reviews, analyses, interviews and discussions. It is used to provide important information to management on the area you reviewed. And, more importantly, it provides details to management on significant issues that needs to be addressed. How well you communicate that information is critical to getting management's acceptance of your findings and their agreement with your recommendations. And ultimately, this demonstrates the value you add to the company and enhances your chances for promotions and greater salary increases.

The audit observation is the most important part of an audit report. It represents the end result of weeks of reviews, analyses, interviews and discussions. It is used to bring significant issues to their attention that needs to be addressed. How well you communicate that information is critical to influencing the readers and getting the results you are seeking. A well written audit observation will capture the readers' attention and focus them on the important issues in the report that needs to be addressed.


After completing this program, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the report writing provisions in the Standards of the Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Write audit reports that meet the needs of your audit clients and prompt them to take action on your recommendations
  • Write audit findings using the five elements of an audit observation: criteria, condition, cause, consequences, and corrective action
  • Understand the typical audit report structure for various types of reports
  • Understand the mandatory information required for every audit report and other best practices
  • Improve the quality of your audit reports through techniques that address tone, clarity, conciseness, and accuracy

An audit report typically represents the conclusion of weeks of reviews, analyses, interviews and discussions. It demonstrates the value of your work as it provides information on the areas you reviewed and that needs to be addressed. Effectively communicating the results can positively influence readers and get the results you are seeking.

A well written audit report adds value to your clients by providing:

  • Concise, understandable, and persuasive observations
  • Observations and conclusions that can be easily communicated to a broad audience
  • Conclusive data that will enable them to take necessary action

The key to writing an effective audit observation is having a comprehensive structured process. The Institute of Internal Auditors recommends a process known as the 5Cs:

  • Criteria
  • Condition
  • Cause
  • Consequences (Effect)
  • Corrective Action (Recommendation)

As you develop conclusions, findings, and recommendations, you must present them to your client in a logical, complete, and objective way. This process provides an easy way to consistently develop and present your observations. The components in this process include all the information you will need to inform and persuade.

Developing this process can be an important tool for completing and reporting observations in a timely and comprehensive way. It allows you to present those findings to your reader in a logical, complete, and objective manner and, thus, enhances the chances of the client's buy-in and their agreement to your recommendations.

This process can also serve as a basis for review by supervisors and managers. It is supported by your work papers, and gives complete and clear details of your analysis and the basis for your findings.


  • Identifying the Audit Report Provisions in the IIA Standards
  • Audit Report Writing Purpose
  • Types of Audit Reports
  • Elements of an Audit Report
  • Five Cs of an Audit Finding
  • Audit Report Quality
  • Audit Report Enhancements
  • Wrap Up and Review

  • Chief Audit Executives
  • Audit Directors
  • Audit Supervisors
  • Audit Managers
  • Staff Auditors
  • Government Auditors
  • Compliance Auditors
  • Internal Control Specialists
  • Public Accountants
  • Accounting Analysts
  • Business Analysts
  • Quality Control Specialists
  • Quality / Operations VPs
  • Directors
  • Payroll Managers
  • Finance Managers

Jonnie Keith has been in auditing for over 40 years. He retired in 2012 as the assistant general manager (AGM) of internal audit with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) in Atlanta, GA. He served in that capacity for over 10 years and was responsible for administering their overall audit activities. He was also responsible for the review and approval of all internal audit correspondence including audit reports, executive summaries, internal and external correspondence, etc.

Prior to that, he worked at MARTA as the operational audit manager and senior contract compliance auditor. He also worked at Norfolk Southern Railway (Southern Railway) as a senior operational auditor and started his career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as a bank examiner.

Mr. Keith received a BA degree in economics from Clark Atlanta University (formerly Clark College). His certifications include: Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), and Certified Internal Control Auditor (CICA).

He has been a volunteer seminar instructor for the National Office of the Institute of Internal Auditors for several years and has taught numerous subjects including: audit report writing, communication skills for auditors, advanced operational auditing, leadership skills for auditors, CIA review course, and more. 

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