The term "internal audit" usually inspires two immediate responses. The first is fear: Is something wrong in our organization? Have I done something wrong? Are we out of compliance with current laws and regulations? What will "the fix" cost us? The second is the image of a large FORTUNE 500 company with the people and other resources that an internal audit function requires.
But smaller organizations and even entrepreneurs can perform internal auditing or have it performed in an efficient and cost-effective way that produces positive change and results, improves the business and its underlying processes, and may even make employees happier about the work they do and how they do it.
Most entrepreneurs and small business leaders would make good internal auditors — in fact, most already perform some internal audit activities as a matter of course. They understand their business and very likely helped to create its objectives and business processes. In some cases, they built the business and hired many, if not all, of its employees. They also tend to think intuitively about risks ("What can go wrong?") and take action to monitor, reduce, minimize or eliminate them. They investigate aspects of their business that concern them, gather facts and objective evidence, and then take the required action. In this sense, internal auditing already is a key part of many small and owner-managed businesses, particularly the successful ones.