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Access Controls | November 2nd, 2016

Upcoming Access Audit? What You Can Do to Avoid Stress

With access audits coming up soon, chances are you’re starting to feel the pressure of everything that it entails – analysis in SAP, extracting reports, auditor requests, and those long, long hours. It’s a lot to manage over the course of a few weeks. The good news is that there are things you can do now and during the audit that can reduce the stress and even make the process run much smoother.

From preparation to meeting with the auditors, check out these surefire tips for eliminating audit stress:

1. Map out the Access Audit Timeline

Imagine the audit process is a journey and your destination is a successful, completed audit. It’s often easier to reach the destination when the journey is mapped out. Using time intervals as stops along way, map out what needs to be done going forward. These stops can include when to review the PCB (Prepared by Client) list, when to communicate key dates to colleagues, when to start sending requests, and when those requests are due. This helps you stay organized from the very beginning, making it less likely that you’ll forget something or not be able to complete a task on time.

2. Communicate Everything

If you haven’t started informing your stakeholders about the upcoming access audit, there is no better time than now. Be sure to reach out and inform them about the audit process – what it entails, the purpose of it, and how long it will take. This important for them to know, as auditors may email them or invite them to on-site meetings during the audit.

At the same time, talk to those colleagues involved with the reports and deliverables auditors often request. Share the PCB list with them and communicate the due dates for each deliverable. It’s beneficial to set due dates a couple days to a week ahead of when they’re actually due, since other projects and priorities can get in the way. However, let colleagues know that auditors often request things “on the fly” and that they must fulfill these requests during the audit.

It pays to communicate everything to both colleagues and stakeholders so that they know what to expect before and during the audit. Keeping details about the audit in the dark won’t do much to relieve audit stress, and most likely will make it even worse. If you run SAP and want to see what auditors could find during your audit, consider getting a Pre-Audit Security Scan beforehand. That way, you can find areas of risk before the auditors do and inform your team and stakeholders of the potential outcome.

3. Prepare Your Reports and Your Office Space

For every access audit report you and your colleagues generate, be sure they are in the format the auditors want and contain proof that they are extracted completely from SAP or your ERP system. Keep the files in one place so you can retrieve them easily. In your office, be sure the auditors have a place to work and meet with others. Before they arrive, arrange for the security or front desk staff to assist them to right place and make sure they have access to the internet, your ERP system, and other tools if necessary. Taking care of the logistics beforehand will ease the stress of jumping right into the audit.

Recap: Make a timeline, communicate with your colleagues and stakeholders, and prepare your materials and workspace accordingly. With these tips, you’ll be able to reduce stressors that can arise during your access audit. Keep in mind that despite the stress they may bring, access audits DO provide a lot of useful information for internal audit and IT professionals. Don’t jump to envisioning the worst case scenario or even the best case scenario – be realistic about the possible outcomes and only do what you can handle.

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