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What We Do

Our audit plan aligns with Northwestern’s fiscal year, which begins September 1 and ends August 31. We develop our annual audit plan using a risk-based approach that considers numerous factors, such as inherent risks identified in Northwestern’s Enterprise Risk Management process, federal regulations, organizational and operational restructuring, information technology changes, higher education trends, time since previous audit, past audit issues, potential loss impact, and requests by management.

Attributes of Internal Audit Excellence

Business Alignment

  • Internal audit plan aligned with business objectives
  • Frequent and open stakeholder communications

Quality and Innovation

  • Methodology/protocols to drive consistency
  • Continuous improvement focus
  • Analytics-enabled internal auditing
  • Subject matter specialists leveraged as necessary

Risk Focus

  • Plan focused on key risks specific to the University and industry
  • Ongoing risk discussions
  • Flexibility to respond to emerging risks and management requests
  • Periodic check-ins on expectations and realignment as necessary

Service Culture

  • A focus on establishing trust through regular interactions and transparency
  • Balanced scorecard under development to assess performance
  • Core team with industry knowledge of peer institutions