INNOVATION AUDITING THE AUDIT & THE AUDITOR : (from the perspective of the internal auditor)

Abstract: There are many innovation audits that aim to contribute to increased innovativeness through systematic monitoring and review. In line with this the purpose of this study is to build knowledge that increases both the academic and the practical user-value of innovation audits.Previous research in the innovation audit area is mainly focused on the audit tool and to some extent the auditing process, with a strong bias towards what to audit, rarely addressing more than just the measuring- and assessment phases. Most audits involve internal staff in audit-related work such as self-assessments, and thus employees from the audited organisation can also be regarded as internal auditors (executors). Previous research indicates that the ability of the internal auditor impacts the audit’s execution and that the audit design affects how auditor-demanding the execution of the audit becomes. Despite this there is very little research that concerns the internal auditor’s role in the auditing process.To better understand how the abilities of individual internal auditors affect the audit process, I formulated two questions for the licentiate thesis: What types of shortcomings in the audit process are influenced by deficient auditor maturity? and What are the consequences of these shortcomings on the audit process? The concept of auditor maturity is here used familiarly to describe the internal auditors’ level of ability to independently perform their auditing tasks in an appropriate manner without any further support than what is provided by the audit tool.The empirical data were collected in two qualitative case studies with 21 participants from two SMEs. 92 written questionnaire and 23 interviews were conducted and complemented by a literature review. My use of two subdivisions of the audit process is central to the thesis and to my knowledge not previously used: firstly the division into three phases: the pre-assessment phase, the assessment phase and the post-assessment phase, and secondly the division into three parts: the audit (the tool), the auditor (the executor) and the auditing (the execution). The analytical focus is on shortcomings in the internal auditors’ ability to execute their auditing tasks.Several shortcomings in this respect were identified and can be grouped based on the following characteristics: Conceptual, Contextual, Auditor interaction, Strategic & operational and Adaption.The main contribution of this research is by highlighting the internal auditor’s role in the audit process, to discuss all the phases of the process and to introduce the perspectives of audit, auditor and auditing under the unifying concept of the audit process.