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Project Performance Audit - A Methodology

Title: "Project Performance Audit - A Methodology"

Author: "Alexia Nalewaik"

Abstract: It all started on a normal workday, with two seemingly unrelated questions:

1. Why didn’t this recent audit identify as many findings as the last one?

2. What can we do to win more audit work?

But they were related ... and then, suddenly, I had a PhD.

Management consultants, by the nature of their business, live in a world where winning the work means survival of their firm, and improvements to their salary. Some will do whatever it takes to win the work. Others genuinely care about the service they provide. The two are not always mutually exclusive.

After analyzing over seven hundred audit reports, the answers to the two questions were clear. Work was being won by other firms because they were able to price their services very low. However, in order to do so, they were reducing the scope of the audit to the bare minimum required by law. Their audit reports were, at most, three pages long – and that included the cover page and managing partner’s affidavit. In contrast, a performance audit with broader scope could yield a report 30 to 100 pages long. Second question, answered. As for the first question, that turned out to be a combination of audit team skills and scope (Nalewaik, 2013). And yet, the answers to both questions turned out to be more...

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