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Embedding Critical Thinking in the Internal Audit Process

Course Description

Print-friendly Course Description and Outline

Organizations today are looking to their audit departments for company insights, risk and fraud expertise, in-depth industry knowledge and forward looking reporting. Auditors are expected to be open-minded and analytical thinkers. Decision making skills and professional judgment are a daily necessity in the internal audit process. Teaching auditors to utilize critical thinking skills throughout the audit process strengthens their ability to identify and assess risk, prioritize testing, align audit objectives with business objectives and identify true value add activities.

This course will provide internal audit staff and management with skills and techniques necessary to embed critical thinking skills in all aspects of the audit cycle. The tools and techniques shared will guide your use of critical thinking skills in risk assessment, interviewing, audit evidence gathering, root cause analysis and report writing. Real life examples of failures and successes of critical thinking in internal audit will be covered to further the learning process.

This course is interactive with multiple hands-on exercises and class participation to provide opportunities for you to practice what you learn.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the process of critical thinking and intellectual traits
  • Discuss the meaning and application of professional judgment
  • Demonstrate how critical thinking helps improve the audit process
  • Compare and contrast auditor judgment and critical thinking skills
  • Review ways to develop critical thinking to enhance the audit process
  • Cover the use of critical thinking during the risk assessment, interviewing and reporting cycles
  • Review the importance of appropriate, sufficient and persuasive audit evidence
Course Duration: 2 day(s)
CPEs Available: 16
Knowledge Level: Intermediate
Field of Study: Auditing
​Auditors with at least 2 years’ experience in order to draw upon their professional audit experience.
Advance Preparation: 
Delivery Method: On-site Training (Group-Live)

Professional Standards

  • International Standards for the Professional Practices of Internal Auditing – IIA
  • Government Audit Standards – GAO
  • IT Standards, Guidelines, and Tools and Techniques for Audit and Assurance and Control Professionals – ISACA

Critical Thinking

  • Provide key terms/definitions
  • Critical thinking levels and characteristics
  • Reasoning and professional judgment
  • Understanding biases, fallacies and inferences in the thinking process
  • Intellectual thinking traits and standards

Professional Judgment

  • What is professional judgment?
  • Applying professional judgment to the audit process
  • Professional Judgment Framework
  • Developing/strengthening professional judgment

Embedding Critical Thinking in Internal Audit

  • Audit Maturity Model
  • Planning - Risk Based Audits (determining scope and levels of risk – impact and likelihood; determining audit prioritization; and interviewing and questioning)
  • Assessing Process and Testing (identifying what to test, how to test, and when to expand testing; determining sufficiency of testing evidence; and keeping the focus on the objective)
  • Evidence and Evidence Gathering (quality of evidence and assurance; evidentiary sources and reliance; and methods to gather evidence)
  • Root Cause Analysis (understanding it; introduction to the various tools and methodologies that can be utilized; and understand how it can be applied within audits, when to use it, and common challenges)
  • Communicating and Reporting (5 C's – condition, criteria, consequence, cause, corrective action; findings - significance, relevance, and framing; and selecting impactful evidence – charts, graphs, pictures, flow charts)

Case Studies and Exercises

  • Failures in Audit that could have been prevented with critical thinking
  • Success Stories using Critical Thinking in Audit
  • Multiple hands-on exercises utilizing critical thinking skill

​​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​​