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Critical Thinking: A Vital Auditing Competency

Course Description

Print-friendly Course Description and Outline

In The IIA’s Global Internal Audit Competency Framework, critical thinking is one of the key required personal skills. Most organizations consider critical thinking an indispensable skill for their internal auditors to master, as it leads to improved decision-making and can result in better organizational performance.

Effective critical thinking involves collecting and analyzing information, drawing compelling conclusions, and providing recommendations. It helps not only drive personal success but also better enables organizations to achieve their strategic objectives, and is often considered the central ingredient necessary for providing insights that help management better manage risk and create a sustainable control environment.

This course examines the various facets and components of this important core competency, as it demonstrates how critical thinking can be weaved throughout key elements of the audit process, including risk assessments, interviewing, testing and analysis, process documentation, and reporting. Critical thinking is disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence, which makes it ideally suited for application in an audit setting.

Who will benefit from this course?

Chief audit executives (CAEs) who would like to incorporate critical thinking into the internal audit strategy and methodology; audit managers who are interested in learning how to integrate critical thinking throughout the stages of the audit cycle; lead auditors who want to employ critical thinking skills in audit observation conversations; and senior and staff auditors who seek enhancement opportunities and interviewing techniques will all benefit from the concepts and practices presented in this dynamic one-day course.

Course Objectives

  • Develop an understanding of the art and science of critical thinking along with supporting tools and techniques.
  • Practice the application of critical thinking skills, tools, and techniques in various scenarios encountered on internal audit engagements.
  • Build the foundation for increasing the effectiveness of your audit strategies and delivering value-added results.
  • Learn the purpose, importance, and key terms of critical thinking.
  • Explore the relevant IPPF Standards and related Implementation Guidance and Practice Guides.
  • Understand the importance of embedding critical thinking into the preparation of process and testing documentation.
  • Identify opportunities to utilize critical thinking throughout the audit process to enhance the reporting of audit results.


Course Duration: 1 day(s)
CPEs Available: 8
Knowledge Level: Intermediate
Field of Study: Auditing
​Participants should have 3-5 years' experience in internal audit.
Advance Preparation: 


Delivery Method: eLearning (Group-Internet-Based); On-site Training (Group-Live); Seminar (Group-Live)

Critical Thinking Overview

  • Critical thinking defined.
  • Critical thinking as a personal skill identified in The IIA’s Global Internal Audit Competency Framework.
  • Purpose and importance of critical thinking.
  • Relevant IPPF Standards and the related Implementation Guidance and Practice Guides.
  • Eight elements of thinking and intellectual standards.
  • Critical thinking in relation to the “Pyramid of Internal Audit Maturity.”

Biases and Fallacies

  • Biases that inhibit critical thinking.
  • Fallacies that can potentially be employed to avoid critical thinking.

Risk Assessments and Critical Thinking

  • Enterprise risk management (ERM) risk model.
    • Identifying critical thinking questions for objectives, risk identification, risk measurement, risk prioritization, and risk responses.
  • Critical thinking to view risk through the lens of “Patterns of Change.”
    •  Determining where an organization is on the S-curve of risk.

Critical Thinking During Interviewing

  • Active listening skills.
  • Neurolinguistic programming.
  • High-gain questioning.
  • Business process – Understanding critical thinking questions.

Embedding Critical Thinking in Process Documentation

  • RACI model, SIPOC diagram, and organizational charts.
  • Value stream analysis with flowcharting.
  • Spaghetti diagrams to capture spatial relationships.

Using Critical Thinking in Testing and Analysis

  • Data analytics.
  • Root cause analysis tools and techniques.
  • Fishbone diagram and fault tree analysis vs. 5 Whys for multiple root causes.
  • Pareto charts.
  • Critical thinking questions for the testing phase.
  • Business process improvement – Critical thinking questions.

Applying Critical Thinking in Reporting

  • Purpose and importance of business intelligence.
  • Business process – Critical thinking questions for reporting.
  • The 5 Cs.
  • Creative problem solving.
  • Payoff matrix.

​Most courses can be delivered through on-site training. You might be surprised that the organization leading the profession is just as committed to the delivery of affordable training.

Contact us by calling +1-407-937-1388 or send an e-mail to



Details and pricing
January 26-27,