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Audit & Risk Awards 2019: What makes a good nomination?

A number of people have got in touch to ask whether we have any guidance about what the judges would be likely to consider a strong entry in the A&R Awards. Of course, we can’t dictate what interesting stories will come up – internal audit is a widely varied profession and one of the most interesting aspects of the awards is the way it highlights some more unusual challenges and innovative responses.

However, innovation isn’t everything. It’s quite possible to put together a strong entry that emphasises traditional audit skills and superlative performance. The judges are experienced practitioners and will appreciate if you are working in a challenging field or succeeding in an area where many struggle.

The most important things are to read the criteria closely, make sure you’re nominating in the right category (if in doubt, ask us) and provide the endorsements and evidence required in the nomination forms. Think broadly about what kind of evidence exists and take time to get the most informative endorsements from the people in the strongest position to speak authoritatively and with real knowledge.

After this, the best advice we can offer is to look at the supplements we’ve run on the winning nominations and, for lots more detail, at the articles we’ve written during the year on previous winners. These explain what they’ve been doing and what they’ve achieved.

A good entry is also essential. The judges can only work on what you tell us. We deliberately limit the word count in each section so that it’s not too arduous to fill the forms in – but it’s also important because it means that everyone has to focus on telling the story in the shortest, most complete way. Try not to get too bogged down in technical terms or explaining details of the corporate structure, but aim to give the judges a concise yet informative overview.

One of the key elements that lots of people neglect or underestimate is the evidence of success/change/massive effort or whatever the story is about, and the endorsements from senior managers or other stakeholders. This is really important because it gives judges something tangible to focus on and offers some kind of verification. Evidence could include:

  • Organisation-wide questionnaires showing improved satisfaction with internal audit.
  • An increase in the numbers of managers approaching internal audit with concerns.
  • Improved report turnaround times.
  • A reduction in the number of unresolved issues x months after they have been highlighted by auditors.
  • Increased types of weaknesses identified.
  • An attempt to audit a complex area in a new way – such as an international supply chain or corporate culture.
  • A glowing report from external quality assessors.
  • An increased variety of audits, or more comprehensive audits, because of more efficient use of other sources of assurance or other efficiencies.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive – there are many more possibilities out there. So think seriously about what you need to put in your entry, speak to the right people in good time and, above all, fill in a nomination form. You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Please note: the deadline for entries is 30 August 2019.

This article was first published in May 2019.