Internal Audit Consulting
Does Your Company Need to Conduct an Internal Audit? If So, Our Lawyers and Consultants Can Help.
Internal audits can serve a variety of purposes, and companies can benefit from conducting these audits in a broad range of circumstances. At Oberheiden P.C., our lawyers and consultants guide companies and their leaders through the internal audit process. Whether your company is preparing for a scheduled compliance audit or needs to gather information in connection with allegations of fraud or misconduct, we can help you gather the information you need to make critical business decisions with confidence.
Our team includes lawyers and consultants who bring centuries of combined experience to the table. Several of our lawyers have prior experience overseeing federal investigations at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and our nationwide network of consultants includes former agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and other agencies. If you want to feel confident in the outcome of your company’s internal audit, we have the knowledge, insights, and resources you need. Contact us to get started today.
Internal Audit Consulting Services for Public and Private Companies in All Industries
We consult with companies conducting internal audits in all types of scenarios. We assist many of our clients with internal compliance audits annually, and we also provide internal audit consulting services on an emergency basis when necessary. Our clients include:
- Government contractors
- Healthcare providers
- Private equity funds
- Public and private corporations
- Companies in a broad range of industries
When conducting an internal audit, a custom-tailored approach is key. It is also absolutely critical that the audit is sufficiently comprehensive in scope to serve its intended purpose. Relying on insights gained in the public and private sectors, our internal audit lawyers and consultants work closely with our clients to ensure that they have the information they need when they need it.
When Is an Internal Audit Necessary? Here Are Seven Common Scenarios
Does your company need to conduct an internal audit? Conducting an internal audit can be necessary in a variety of different scenarios. With this in mind, here are seven common scenarios in which we provide internal audit consulting services to our clients:
Scenario #1: Facing a Government Audit or Inspection
From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (DEA) to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), several federal agencies (and state agencies) conduct audits and inspections. Many agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), engage fee-for-service contractors to audit program participants as well.
These audits and inspections can take a variety of different forms. For example, while FDA inspections typically focus on assessing companies’ compliance with the government’s standards for research and manufacturing facilities, DEA and Medicare audits can feel much more like adversarial proceedings. In any case, one of the keys to surviving (or “passing”) a government audit or inspection is to be thoroughly prepared. This starts with conducting an internal audit to determine what issues—if any—are likely to come up during the government’s inquiry.
Scenario #2: Facing a Government Investigation
Companies should conduct internal audits when facing government investigations as well. While government investigations can be administrative, civil, or criminal in nature (with the nature of the investigation determining the risks involved), all investigations require an informed and strategic approach. To defend themselves effectively, companies first need to understand what they need to defend against, and this necessarily involves conducting an internal audit to determine what (if anything) the government’s investigators are going to find.
Scenario #3: Maintaining Statutory or Regulatory Compliance
Companies must also conduct periodic internal audits for purposes of maintaining statutory and regulatory compliance. Conducting regularly scheduled audits is a key component of an effective compliance program, and companies will often need to conduct audits when dealing with compliance deviations as well. When conducting an internal audit for compliance purposes, thoroughly documenting the audit can be just as important as conducting the audit itself, as government authorities will expect to see proof of companies’ affirmative efforts to maintain compliance during their audits, inspections, and investigations.
Scenario #4: Investigating Accounting or Inventory Irregularities
Accounting and inventory irregularities can present risks not only for corporate financial losses, but potentially for civil litigation and government enforcement action as well. If your company is dealing with unexplained accounting discrepancies or inventory loss, conducting an internal audit will be an essential first step toward determining how to remedy the situation at hand.
As with all types of internal audits, when conducting an audit in relation to accounting or inventory irregularities, it is critical not to make any assumptions. No potential sources of the problem can go overlooked. Making assumptions can lead to biased results; and, in many cases, it can defeat the purpose of an internal audit entirely.
Scenario #5: Investigating Suspected Employee Theft
Similar to accounting and inventory irregularities, internal audits can also be used as tools for investigating suspected employee theft. This applies to instances involving all types of corporate assets, from funds and inventory to technological devices and intellectual property.
When investigating suspected employee theft, our lawyers and consultants use various forensic auditing methods to identify the personnel involved. With our clients’ help, we are able to conduct these audits discretely so that the individuals who are under scrutiny are unable to destroy relevant records or use other evasive tactics.
Scenario #6: Determining the Company’s Compliance Needs
Whether forming or acquiring a new business, spinning off a subsidiary, targeting a new market, or launching a new product or service, companies will need to assess their compliance obligations under a wide range of circumstances. When a new business venture has compliance implications, it is imperative to address these implications proactively. Here, too, conducting an internal audit is the first step. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the company’s compliance obligations—and by conducting an unbiased assessment of any compliance protocols that are already in place—companies can make informed decisions that allow them to avert the risks of noncompliance.
Scenario #7: Preparing for Potential Business Litigation
We also commonly consult with companies that need to conduct internal audits in preparation for potential business litigation. As with government audits, inspections, and investigations, when facing potential litigation, it is imperative that company leaders are able to make informed and strategic decisions. By identifying all potential points of exposure as well as all potential claims and defenses, companies can approach business litigation strategically, and they can ultimately reduce the costs involved.
FAQs: Conducting an Internal Audit
What are the steps involved in conducting an internal audit?
Conducting an internal audit is a multi-step process. The specific steps a company will need to take in any particular situation depend heavily on the reason for the audit, the circumstances involved, and various other factors. With this in mind, the major steps in the internal audit process typically include assembling an audit team, identifying all relevant data sources, examining the relevant data, analyzing the company’s risks in light of applicable law, and determining what next steps are necessary.
Are there any risks involved with conducting an internal audit?
Conducting an internal audit can be risky if the audit is not handled appropriately. One of the greatest risks involves uncovering damaging information without the protection of the attorney-client privilege. While companies can—and generally should—leverage the attorney-client privilege during internal audits, mistakes during the audit process can lead to the creation of discoverable records and communications.
How long does an internal audit usually take?
There is no “standard” timeline for an internal audit. The duration of an internal audit depends heavily on the scope of the audit, along with the resources available and various other factors. In most cases, the timeline will range from days to weeks, though it can easily stretch to much longer in high-stakes corporate matters involving voluminous records and complicated legal issues.
Why should my company engage an internal audit consulting firm?
It is generally inadvisable for companies to attempt to conduct internal audits on their own. There are a variety of reasons why. Most significantly, however, conducting an internal audit requires extensive legal knowledge as well as familiarity with the relevant forensic and investigatory procedures. Engaging an outside law firm also affords the protection of the attorney-client privilege. Due to the numerous potential legal implications involved, all companies should engage outside counsel for their internal audits.
Why should my company engage Oberheiden P.C.?
At Oberheiden P.C., our team includes not only highly-experienced corporate attorneys, but also former investigative agents with decades of high-level experience within the federal government. As a result, our team offers a wealth of insights for all aspects of the internal audit process. We provide corporate compliance consulting and defense representation as well, so we are able to provide full-service advice in all of our clients’ areas of need.
Inquire About Oberheiden P.C.’s Internal Audit Consulting Services
If you would like to know more about our internal audit consulting services, we invite you to get in touch. To speak with a senior attorney or consultant at Oberheiden P.C. in confidence, please call 888-680-1745 or request a complimentary consultation online today.