Drafting effective audit recommendations is a challenging task that requires much thought, discussion, and professional judgment. When drafting a recommendation, auditors can ask themselves the following questions:
- Is the recommendation addressed to the right organization (that is, the one that can actually implement it and make change happen)?
- Is the recommendation aimed at the root cause of the issue or at its symptoms? (See the our discussion paper on Root Cause Analysis for guidance on this topic.)
- Does the recommendation clearly identify the risk(s) being addressed?
- Is the recommendation consistent with the audit observations?
- What is the cost and feasibility of implementing the proposed action? Are there alternative courses of remedial actions that would be easier to implement or be more affordable?
- What would be the impact on results, both positive and negative, if the recommendation were adopted?
- Could successful implementation of the recommendation be reasonably determined in a follow-up audit?
Furthermore, auditors can inform their decisions on audit recommendations by seeking the audited organization’s views on the actions that would be necessary to correct the identified deficiencies. By discussing audit recommendations with audited organizations before completing audit reports, auditors can increase the likelihood that their recommendations will be implemented and will lead to positive change.