The audit report template reflect the typical audit report structure :
- An executive summary
- The full report
- Strictly one page, no more, whatever is the size of the audit or the risk ! Remember that the first quality of an audit is its clarity. It requires a short executive summary.
- An audit color should be selected : blue (excellent), green (good), orange (bad), red (very bad). Do not use bi-colors to rate audits, 4 colors is far enough : a choice must be made by auditors !
- Start : 4 or 5 lines max on the context of the audit, what was audited, when it was performed.
- Middle : the main findings, starting with the most important. Use some numbers to quantify what you found (kilometers of xxx, number of faulty products …) and try to evaluate the consequences on the main objectives of the audited entity (turnover, customer satisfaction…)
- Bottom : 4 or 5 lines to summarize the main recommandations
It should be structured in paragraphs (or sections) with the exact same order as the findings in the middle section of the executive summary above.
If possible start with the exact same sentence as in the middle section. This will make the reading very easy : when the reader finds something interesting in the executive summary, he will easilly find it in the full report.
Don’t forget that a topic should be found only once in the report. Repeating is a very common flaw of audit reports. It is not only boring : it is also a risk of inconsistency, as a single finding can be positive or negative, depending what topic of audit you refer to (see some advices in this web site about this strange but very real flaw).
A typical middle section is 4 to 8 pages. If we are talking about a large audit, then a detailled report should be added, as a sort of appendix. I do not recommend a large audit report : again, the main value of an audit is its clarity, and therefore is should be short.
Short reports are more difficult to write, but much better for readers.
The recommandations should, like the fulld report, reflect in the same order the main findings of the executive summary.
Be carefull to make easily understandable and practical recommandations : they are often too complicated or theoratical.
Make few recommandations as they are optionnal : the main value of an audit is found in its findings and the clarity to explain them.