Root Cause Analysis of Internal Audit Template

by Nagaveni S

When conducting internal audits, identifying the root cause of issues or deficiencies is crucial for effective problem-solving and process improvement. Utilizing a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) template can be highly beneficial to ensure a thorough and systematic approach. This template provides a structured framework for analyzing and documenting the underlying causes of audit findings. In this blog, we will explore the importance of using an RCA template in internal audits and provide insights on effectively utilizing this tool for identifying and addressing root causes.

Root Cause Analysis

Scope Of Root Cause Analysis Template

The scope of RCA within an internal audit template extends beyond identifying symptoms or superficial problems. It delves deeper into the underlying reasons for non-compliance, inefficiencies, or control weaknesses. By applying RCA techniques, auditors can uncover the root causes of these issues, enabling the organization to implement practical corrective actions.

One significant benefit of incorporating RCA into the internal audit template is the ability to prevent recurring problems. Traditional audits often focus on correcting symptoms, which can lead to repeated failures. By digging deeper into the root causes, auditors can identify systemic weaknesses that, once addressed, can prevent similar issues from reoccurring in the future.

Components Of Root Cause Analysis Template

1. Problem Statement: The first step in any RCA is clearly defining the problem or audit finding. This template component should describe the issue concisely, providing sufficient context for those conducting the analysis.

2. Data Collection: Effective RCA relies on accurate and comprehensive data. This template section should outline the data sources, such as audit reports, incident reports, or relevant documentation. It is essential to collect all relevant information to ensure an accurate and thorough analysis.

3. Team Composition: A diverse team with a range of expertise is crucial for conducting RCA. This template component should identify the RCA team members, specifying their roles and responsibilities. Including representatives from different departments or functions ensures a holistic analysis.

4. Timeline: RCA follows a structured timeline, which should be documented in the template. This component delineates the key milestones and deadlines for each phase of the analysis, clearly outlining the expected duration of the RCA process.

5. Root Cause Identification Techniques: Various techniques can be employed to determine the root causes of an issue. The template should include a section listing the specific techniques that will be utilized, such as the "5 Whys" or Fishbone Diagrams. These techniques facilitate a systematic approach and help uncover the core reasons behind the problem.

6. Root Cause Analysis: This template component serves as the core of the RCA process. It involves the systematic examination of the identified root causes and analysis of their relationships and consequences. The RCA team should document their findings in this section, ensuring clarity and precision.

7. Corrective Actions: Once the root causes have been identified, appropriate corrective actions must be implemented. The template should provide a clear and structured section for documenting these actions, including the responsible individuals, timelines, and expected outcomes. Well-defined corrective actions are crucial to prevent recurrence of the problem.

8. Follow-up and Monitoring: RCA does not end with implementing corrective actions. To ensure their effectiveness, a follow-up and monitoring mechanism is necessary. The template should include a section outlining the monitoring process, including regular reviews and evaluations.

9. Documentation: Proper documentation of the entire RCA process is essential for future reference and organizational learning. The template should illustrate the requirement to document all steps, findings, and actions taken throughout the RCA process.

Root Cause Analysis

Challenges Of The Root Cause Analysis Template

Challenges faced by internal auditors when using the root cause analysis template in IT governance.

1. Complex IT Systems: One of the primary challenges internal auditors face is dealing with complex IT systems. The template may need to adequately capture the intricacies of modern IT infrastructure, making it challenging to identify the root causes accurately. IT systems constantly evolve, and auditors must stay updated to use the template effectively.

2. Lack Of Standardization: Another challenge is more standardization in the root cause analysis process. Different auditors might use different templates or approaches, leading to inconsistency in the analysis. This can make it challenging to compare findings across different audits and organizations.

3. Limited Expertise: Internal auditors may sometimes have the necessary technical expertise to conduct a comprehensive root cause analysis. This is particularly true in organizations where IT governance is not the primary focus. With the proper knowledge and skills, auditors may be able to correctly identify and analyze the root causes of IT-related issues.

4. Time And Resource Constraints: Internal auditors often need more time and resource constraints that can hinder the effectiveness of the root cause analysis template. Conducting a thorough analysis requires significant time, which may need to be more readily available. Additionally, auditors may need access to the necessary data or tools for a comprehensive analysis.

5. Communication Challenges: Communicating the root cause analysis findings can be challenging. The technical nature of IT governance can make it difficult for auditors to explain the root causes to non-technical stakeholders effectively. Clear and concise communication is crucial to ensure appropriate actions are taken to address the identified issues.

6. Resistance To Change: Implementing changes based on the root cause analysis findings can be met with resistance from stakeholders within the organization. This can hinder the effectiveness of the analysis and make it challenging to address the root causes. Overcoming this challenge may require strong leadership and effective change management strategies.

Benefits Of Root Cause Analysis In Internal Audits

Here are some benefits of conducting Root Cause Analysis:

1. Problem Prevention: RCA helps identify the root causes of shortcomings in internal controls, enabling organizations to implement preventive measures. By addressing the underlying causes, organizations can proactively avoid future problems and reduce the risk of non-compliance or financial losses.

2. Process Improvement: Through RCA, internal auditors can identify process inefficiencies or bottlenecks within an organization. This analysis helps organizations streamline operations, increase productivity, and optimize resource utilization.

3. Risk Mitigation: Internal audits focus on assessing risks and evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of controls. RCA enables auditors to uncover and understand the root causes of control failures or gaps, allowing organizations to mitigate risks effectively.

4. Evidence-Based Decision Making: RCA provides objective evidence to support audit findings and recommendations. It ensures that audit conclusions are based on a thorough understanding of the causes and impacts of identified issues.


In conclusion, conducting a root cause analysis of an internal audit template is essential for identifying and addressing underlying issues in the audit process. By using this template, auditors can systematically investigate the root causes of potential deficiencies or weaknesses, allowing for targeted improvements. It provides a structured approach to identifying the underlying factors contributing to the identified issues and enables organizations to implement appropriate corrective actions. A thorough root cause analysis helps to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of internal audits, ultimately improving overall organizational performance.Internal Audit Framework