Road to Compliance: The Internal Audit Framework Timeline

by Poorva Dange


Internal audits are a crucial part of any organization's operations, ensuring compliance, identifying risks, and improving efficiency. To ensure the audit process runs smoothly, it is essential to have a well-defined internal audit framework timeline in place. This timeline outlines the key milestones and activities involved in conducting an internal audit, from planning and fieldwork to reporting and follow-up. Understanding and following this timeline is essential for organizations to achieve optimal audit effectiveness and ensure compliance with regulations.

Road to Compliance: The Internal Audit Framework Timeline

Internal Audit Framework Implementation Timeline

1. Initiate- The initiation phase marks the beginning of the audit process where the scope, objectives, and key stakeholders are identified. This phase typically involves establishing the audit team, conducting initial risk assessments, and defining the scope of the audit. It is crucial for auditors to clearly define the purpose and objectives of the audit during this phase to ensure that the audit is conducted efficiently and effectively. The initiation phase sets the foundation for the entire audit process and plays a key role in determining the success of the audit. By laying the groundwork during this phase, auditors can ensure that the audit is conducted in a timely and comprehensive manner, ultimately leading to valuable insights and recommendations for the organization. 

Initiation Includes:
    • Project Initiation
    • Proposal draft

2. Plan- The plan typically includes key milestones such as establishing audit objectives, conducting risk assessments, developing audit plans, executing audit procedures, and communicating audit results. The timeline also outlines the frequency of audits, as well as the responsibilities of the audit team and management in ensuring the effectiveness of the internal audit function. By following the Internal Audit Framework Timeline, organizations can ensure that their internal audit processes are conducted in a timely and efficient manner, ultimately helping to improve governance, risk management, and control processes within the organization.

Plan Includes:

    • Create work plan
    • Kick-off
Internal Audit Framework

3. Coordinate- Coordination refers to the process of aligning all activities and efforts within the audit function to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in achieving the organization's objectives. This involves establishing clear communication channels, defining responsibilities, and setting timelines for each stage of the audit process. Coordination also involves identifying potential risks and areas of improvement, establishing control mechanisms, and monitoring progress to address any issues that may arise. In essence, coordination in the internal audit framework timeline is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the audit process, promoting a systematic approach to risk management, and ultimately adding value to the organization by providing assurance on the effectiveness of its internal controls and processes.

Coordinate Includes:

    • Scope Management  
    • Schedule Management
    • Cost Management
    • Risk Management
    • Quality control
    • Team management
    • Comms management
    • Stakeholder management

4. Close- The close phase is the final step in the audit process where the audit team reviews all the evidence gathered during the audit and prepares a final report. This report includes the audit findings, recommendations, and any areas of concern identified during the audit. The close phase also involves discussions with management to ensure that they understand the findings and recommendations and to address any questions or concerns they may have. Once the final report is completed, it is presented to the relevant stakeholders, such as the audit committee or management, for review and approval. The close phase is crucial in the internal audit process as it ensures that all audit objectives have been met and that any necessary actions are taken to address any issues identified during the audit.

Close Includes:

    • Project Closure
    • Lessons Learned
    • Establish IAF


Implementing an internal audit framework timeline is essential for ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the audit process within an organization. By establishing clear timelines for each stage of the audit, stakeholders can better understand expectations and deadlines, improving overall accountability and transparency. Embracing a well-structured internal audit framework timeline can ultimately lead to better risk management, compliance, and decision-making processes.

Internal Audit Framework