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Hindsight is 20/20: Why improvement starts by looking backward

Lyndsay C. Kadow ( is a Manager of Information Security Risk Management, Optum Enterprise Information Security, UnitedHealth Group in Hartford, CT, USA.

As compliance professionals who continue to navigate the everchanging landscape of audit, we can look back retrospectively to develop opportunities for improvement, to influence more positive outcomes, and to elevate the experience of not only the auditors but our teams as well. By hosting team listening sessions, collecting participant feedback, and identifying opportunities or findings that could potentially have been prevented, the annual audit cycle will feel less painful and, ultimately, be more successful.

It’s important to look at the audit experience as just that, an experience for each individual involved—a team comprising auditors, leaders, facilitators, subject matter experts (SMEs), and document support, to name a few. Each of these roles is important and vital, and often hinges on the success of the others. How can we improve the quality of the data we bring to the table this time? By looking back. Oftentimes the best audit preparation tools that we have are the documents and experiences from the previous audit. What went well? What was successful? What pieces and parts impressed the auditors, and more importantly, what encouraged them to ask more questions? Largely, what did we as a team learn?

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