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Root Cause Analysis for Internal Auditors

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Date(s): Jun 25, 2018 - Jun 26, 2018
Time: 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Registration Fee: $429.00
Cancellation Date: Jun 18, 2018
City: Austin

Course Description

In this seminar, participants will learn to apply the structured process of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to their audit practices. The course provides in-depth techniques and tools that will help attendees identify a range of potential root causes for problem areas, select the most likely root cause, investigate at the point of the problem, and determine and prioritize potential solutions. Participants will discover the risks and opportunities at each stage of RCA, and develop advanced skills to improve communication with all stakeholders.

The purpose of an RCA is to uncover what happened, why it happened, and determine what changes need to be made. Once necessary changes have been identified, the recommended resulting actions should be tailored to the environment, resources, and people who have to carry out the changes. The techniques covered in this seminar will allow an internal auditor to better understand and convey to management why systems, processes, or functional areas are not operating as intended or designed. Problem scenarios are presented and participants develop solutions through small group exercises.  

Potential CPE Hours: 16.0
Govt Hours: This class meets 16.0 hours of the 24-hour requirement for governmental CPE under Government Auditing Standards (yellow book), in most cases.
Technical Hours: This class meets 16.0 CPE credits of technical training in compliance with Texas Admin. Code Rule 523.102.

Instruction Type: Classroom
Experience Level: ALL
Category: Auditing

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify potential root causes for problem areas
  • Investigate at the point of the problem
  • Determine and prioritize solutions
  • Understand risks and opportunities at RCA stages

Course Outline

1. Why Root Cause Analysis is Important to Auditing
• definition of internal auditing
• three questions every audit should answer
• relevant definitions and Performance Standards
• attributes of audit findings

2. Blocks to Effective Problem Solving
• incomplete problem definition
• categorical thinking
• anchoring
• clinging to status quo
• sunk cost bias
• confirmation bias
• assumptions trap
• conformity trap
• illusion of control
• recall or memory trap

3. Analyzing Problems Thoroughly
• employ both creative and critical thinking
• three causal categories
• common problems in root cause analysis
• 5 steps of root cause analysis
• develop clear and complete problem statements

4. Gathering and Managing Data
• follow up on key components and players 
• change focus to look both broadly and deeply for facts
• determine people, systems, locations where relevant information can be found
• identify sources of information to be analyzed
• endeavor to include diverse points of view on the issues. 
• means of collecting data
  - interviews
  - questionnaires
  - document reviews
  - data analysis
  - direct observation
  - facilitated meetings
  - focus groups
  - benchmarking/best practices

5. Pinpointing Cause and Effect
• is/is not: transitional tool from data collection to cause identification
• group activity
• brainstorming
• brain writing
• affinity diagramming 
• five whys
• appreciation
• is/is not
• fishbone diagram
• mind map

6. Identifying and Recommending Solutions
• desired-result fishbone diagram 
• gather data/generating options
  - interviews, meetings
  - focus groups
• Evaluating/Analyzing Options
  - 5W2H
  - check sheets
• Deciding on Options
  - paired comparison
  - multi-voting
  - decision matrix
  - force field analysis

7. Organizational Issues Related to Root Cause Analysis
• consider control environment factors
• consider human abilities
• look for reliance on “softer” controls
• change management definition
• the implementation of solutions
• the change process
• responses to change
• the resistance to change
• conflict management


No prerequisites required.

Who Should Attend?

Internal Auditors motivated to resolve persistent problems


Kathleen Crawford

Kathleen Crawford is a Senior Consultant for MIS Training Institute. She has more than 25 years' experience in internal audit and fraud investigation. Ms. Crawford is a consultant, specializing in assurance, investigative and advisory projects. Previously, she was an Internal Auditor for Vinfen Corporation, a private, nonprofit human services organization. There she assisted management in the standardizing operations, developing policies and procedures and improving processes. Ms. Crawford also investigated suspected financial crimes, collecting evidence to support successful prosecution and recovery of assets. She created unique methodology to detect and document fraud while complying with unique requirements of MA and CT human services regulations.

Ms. Crawford began her career as a bank auditor, first with Bank of New England, then Eastern Bank and State Street Bank. In all three institutions, she was responsible for both internal audits and fraud investigations. Ms. Crawford holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, attended Babson College Graduate School of Business, and holds a BA in English from Boston College. A member of the Institute of Internal Auditors, she is a past President of the Greater Boston Chapter of the IIA. She is also a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the Association for Talent Development. Ms. Crawford serves as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the Foxborough Regional Charter School and its foundation, Friends of FRCS. She is also Chair of Vinfen Corporation's Family Advisory Council, a group that consults on issues important to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Additional Information

TAC Rule 523.142(g) requires the CPE Sponsor to monitor individual attendance and assign the correct number of CPE credits. Participants will be asked to document their time of arrival and departure in compliance with this Rule. Additionally, attendance will be monitored throughout the day and CPE certificates will reflect actual attendance of each participant.

If you are making travel plans to come to Austin, we recommend making "refundable" air and hotel reservations or waiting until 14 days before the class to actually book your reservations. Courses are occasionally canceled or rescheduled due to low enrollment. We determine whether a course has enough participants 16 days prior to the course date. If we cancel or reschedule, we will email the participant and his or her billing contact no later than 14 days before the original class date.

The course coordinator will contact you with parking information. Handicapped parking is free at the meters around the downtown area.

Vending machines with Coca-Cola products and various snack items are available. There is also a refrigerator and microwave in our coffee bar area. Feel free to bring in your own drinks and food if you prefer.

You might want to bring a light sweater or jacket, as room temperatures vary.

To see answers to our Frequently Asked Questions, visit

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