Summary: Why internal audits are stressful and how a Bank Intranet can alleviate the stress with organized Policy Management.
Internal audits are necessary part of ensuring your bank is operating within the governance structure outlined by the board. However, an audit can have a real toll on the mental health of bank employees. Panic can ensue when an audit is announced, and long outstanding tasks suddenly take priority. This flurry of activity is disruptive, and staff can be strained to keep on to of daily tasks in addition to new workload.
When the audit begins, It can be nerve wracking and stressful when the auditor comes in and starts randomly pulling records and checking every last detail. This is especially true for Branch Managers or General Managers, who must rely on the diligence of other staff members to ensure policies and procedures are being kept up to date and are being followed.
How a Bank Intranet Can Help
The informal, community focused culture that serves smaller banks so well in servicing their clients, often can cause friction during audits. Staff may struggle with keeping up with policy management. At smaller banks especially, where all staff members fulfill multiple roles, everyday tasks often take precedence over governance tasks. Intranet administrators often become the de facto document or policy managers, a role that is often a full time position in larger organizations.
For these organizations, it makes sense to handle policy management within a Bank Intranet, reducing the upfront expense and training cost of implementing yet another application. With Policy Assist, standard with Intranet Connections, branch managers have instant visibility into current state of policies and procedures. Keeping the records in one central location makes it easy to pull whatever audit is looking for:
- The current and past versions of all polices.
- Assigned policy responsibility and next review date.
- Staff read confirmations (acknowledgements) of current polices.
- Past staff read confirmations for previous versions of a policy.
Improve Policy Management
Policy Assist supports the two most common scenarios in maintaining staff read confirmations.
- For policies which infrequently change, but require staff to re-confirm every year, each year’s read confirmations are automatically stored for audit purposes.
- For policies which have been updated, staff can confirm they have read the updated document, and previous read confirmations are saved with the previous version.
Delegate Responsibility Prior to an Audit
In addition, your governance structure may require that all polices have a policy owner or expert assigned. Per policy, Policy Assist lets you define who is responsible for reviewing the policy, and the next review date. A manager can quickly and easily verify all the policies have assigned owners, and at any time view which policies are coming due for review soon, or are already overdue. Automated reminder messages can be scheduled for policy owners, prevent the rush to update all policies when an audit is announced.
While audits will always be stressful, Policy Assist makes it much easier to know you are prepared ahead of time. At a glance, a Branch Manager can see when policies were updated, and the list of staff of who have confirmed they have read the changes. Because the current policy, previous versions of the policy, current staff read confirmations, and past staff read confirmations are all stored in a central location, it becomes easy to produce records for audit, and you can trust the information is correct.
I’d love to learn more about your experiences with audits. Share with me in the comments section below.