Internal auditors are integral to organizational success, as they effectively support executives and board members in managing risk. To perform this job function to the highest standard, auditors should develop SMART goals.
Whether you’re a new or experienced internal auditor, understanding how to use the SMART system is critical to businesses. This post will explore various examples of SMART goals for internal auditors.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) system will allow internal auditors to establish practical goals.
Want more clarity? Here is a better explanation of each SMART letter:
The more precise you are with your goals, the greater your likelihood of success you will have. Try to be laser-focused and don’t forget the details; this could give you a competitive edge over other auditors.
After all, if you strive for something that’s too far out of reach or not well-defined, it can be easy for enthusiasm and motivation to fizzle out quickly.
Internal auditors must maintain the integrity of a company’s financial records and ensure accurate reporting. For this reason, they should develop measurable goals throughout their work. An audit can quickly become convoluted and disorganized without tracking progress.
Setting the bar too high may set you up for disappointment. On the other hand, placing it too low can leave you feeling unfulfilled. The trick is trying to balance being overly ambitious and being too timid. You’ll do everything necessary to succeed in the long run.
When creating relevant goals congruent with who you are, you can push on even in times of difficulty. Hence, take some time to think about the personal values most important to you. These values should be reflected in your professional and personal life.
With a robust timeline, you can confidently stay on course and keep your goals within view. Success is not something that happens quickly; it requires time and energy. It needs to be nourished with diligence along the way.
13 SMART Goals Examples for Internal Auditors
Here are 13 examples of SMART goals for internal auditors:
1. Improve Reporting Capabilities
“I’ll improve my reporting capabilities by creating a comprehensive report that outlines findings and recommendations. Within 6 months, I want to provide clear information that can be used to identify areas for improvement and develop best-practice policies.”
Specific: This goal outlines what you will do (create a comprehensive report) and the time frame (6 months).
Measurable: You could count the number of reports created or improved reporting capabilities.
Attainable: Writing a comprehensive report is absolutely doable within 6 months.
Relevant: Improving reporting capabilities makes it easier to identify areas of improvement.
Time-based: Goal completion is anticipated within 6 months.
2. Expand Knowledge Base
“I will read two books and attend one training related to internal auditing every month for the next 10 months. That way, I can stay current on the latest audit processes and regulations.”
Specific: You’ll read two books and attend one training about internal auditing monthly.
Measurable: You can check how many books and training you’ve completed.
Attainable: You may need to adjust your reading list to make sure it’s realistic, but this is generally reasonable.
Relevant: It links to your primary objective of expanding your knowledge base.
Time-based: You should expect success after 10 whole months.
3. Leverage Automated Technology
“I’ll investigate and implement automated technology to streamline the audit process, such as automated report generation and workflow management. I’ll have a plan within 6 months to complete processes faster and more efficiently.”
Specific: The statement is well-defined, detailing the objective, the type of technology to be used, and how long it will take.
Measurable: Using automated technology will allow the company to measure how quickly and accurately it can complete processes.
Attainable: Automated technology is a feasible solution to streamline the audit process.
Relevant: This goal is appropriate because it seeks to improve the audit process by making it more efficient.
Time-based: The SMART goal must be accomplished within 6 months.
4. Utilize Data Analytics
“My aim is to utilize data analytics within the audit process by the end of 5 months. I want to ensure we can use data-driven insights to identify risks, evaluate controls, and detect fraud.”
Specific: This is explicit as the person wants to use data analytics within their audit process.
Measurable: Ensure you use data analytics correctly by following the three action items.
Attainable: This SMART goal is doable when the necessary steps are taken to implement data analytics in the audit process.
Relevant: Using data analytics is essential for internal auditors who want to ensure their work is accurate and efficient.
Time-based: Goal achievement must be reached within 5 months.
5. Enhance Communication
“I plan to enhance communication between internal departments and stakeholders for three months. This will include several initiatives such as monthly meetings, regular reporting updates, and improved communication systems for better collaboration.”
Specific: The internal auditor plans to improve communication between internal departments and stakeholders.
Measurable: Determine the number of monthly meetings conducted, regular reporting updates, and improved communication systems.
Attainable: This is possible because the individual takes tangible steps to address communication issues.
Relevant: The statement applies to the organization’s overall communication needs.
Time-based: The goal has an end date of three months.
6. Expand Networking Opportunities
“To widen my expert network within the professional audit community, I’ll attend three industry-specific events in a year. I want to meet professionals in the same field, learn from their experiences, and build lasting relationships with them.”
Specific: The goal clearly explains what will be done and the deadline.
Measurable: You can measure how many events you attended in a year.
Attainable: This goal is achievable because attending three events yearly is achievable.
Relevant: This is pertinent to networking and building meaningful connections with professionals.
Time-based: One whole year is required to achieve excellence.
7. Promote Continual Learning
“I want to research and develop a list of relevant seminars or classes to stay current on the latest trends and developments in internal auditing. This list should include online and in-person courses, which I will present to my team by the end of the quarter.”
Specific: The scope of the goal is to develop a list of courses, seminars, and classes for internal auditing.
Measurable: You tick off each course as you research and develop the list.
Attainable: It is realistic for an auditor to compile a list of courses related to their field.
Relevant: Continual learning is essential for internal auditors to stay updated with the latest developments in their field.
Time-based: The SMART goal must be accomplished by the end of the quarter.
8. Increase Audit Effectiveness
“I’ll strive to make the audits conducted within our department as effective and efficient as possible in 7 months. I aim to have a streamlined and organized process with improved accuracy and quality of the results.”
Specific: The aim is to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the audits.
Measurable: You should be able to evaluate the results of the audit to determine its effectiveness.
Attainable: This is definitely feasible with some guidance and direction.
Relevant: Increasing audit effectiveness is a reasonable goal for the department.
Time-based: Goal attainment should be anticipated after 7 months.
9. Improve Documentation Accuracy
“I want to increase the accuracy of our documentation by 10% within four months. I hope to streamline our processes, eliminate redundant tasks, and train our staff in the correct procedure.”
Specific: The goal is to increase the accuracy of documentation.
Measurable: You have an exact percentage to aim for—10% improvement within four months.
Attainable: This is achievable by streamlining processes and training staff on the correct procedure.
Relevant: Proper documentation is essential for efficient internal auditing, so this is relevant.
Time-based: There is a deadline of four months for this particular goal.
10. Promote Team Collaboration
“By the end of the month, I’ll set up a system of weekly meetings where each member of the internal audit team can discuss their progress and any areas of difficulty. I want to create an open, transparent, and collaborative environment where everyone can learn from one another.”
Specific: You’ll create weekly meetings for the internal audit team.
Measurable: Track each meeting’s progress and topics discussed.
Attainable: Have each team member be prepared and actively participate.
Relevant: Team collaboration will help the team stay on track and work more efficiently.
Time-based: In one month, you will have the meetings set up and ready.
11. Strengthen Internal Controls
“To promote increased transparency and reliability in financial reporting, I will strengthen internal controls within 5 months. I want to implement standard procedures and policies to protect the organization’s resources.”
Specific: The SMART goal is evident in its description of how to improve internal controls.
Measurable: The person could measure the impact of the strengthened internal controls.
Attainable: Enhancing internal controls is reasonable within the given timeline.
Relevant: The goal is relevant to protecting the organization’s resources.
Time-based: Five months are needed to reach lasting success.
12. Enhance Risk Assessment
“I want to become more efficient and proactive in assessing potential risks. I will develop a risk assessment methodology within four months that can be used to identify risk areas across all departments in our company.”
Specific: This goal details what you want to do (develop a risk assessment methodology) and the time frame for completion.
Measurable: You could measure the progress of developing your methodology.
Attainable: Creating a new risk assessment methodology is possible within four months.
Relevant: Improving risk assessment processes is essential in any internal audit operation.
Time-based: You have four months to complete this goal statement.
13. Review Financial Stability
“I’ll thoroughly review the organization’s financial stability and ensure its compliance with relevant regulations. I’ll update the audit committee about the organization’s financial stability every quarter to confirm its resources are used responsibly and efficiently.”
Specific: The goal outlines the expectations of a financial audit.
Measurable: You can measure progress by quarterly reviewing and updating the audit committee.
Attainable: This realistic goal outlines the necessary steps to ensure financial stability.
Relevant: This is relevant to internal auditing and is vital for any organization.
Time-based: Consider this an ongoing effort that you pursue each quarter.
Internal auditors can use SMART goals to secure the organization’s success and financial stability. By taking advantage of this framework, auditors can establish a roadmap for themselves and their teams.
These goals will enable them to assess risks, address issues, and help their company reach its desired destination.
Ultimately, SMART goal setting is an effective tool that all internal auditors should leverage to optimize their overall performance.
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