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Auditor Insights: Day-to-Day Operations of Internal Audit

Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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Provided by PPI Partner Kirkpatrick Price

Internal audit provides a level of monitoring which is generally not available when working with a third-party auditor. If you’re going on a long road trip, how likely are you to hop in the car and start driving? You’re not – most people will take the car to the shop for an oil change and overall inspection. If the road trip is the audit engagement, the practice of taking the car to the shop equates to the usage of an internal audit function to ensure the car (the organization) is ready for the road trip (the third-party assessment).

So, you’ve recognized the value of an internal audit program, you have senior management’s support, you’ve developed an internal audit program, and now you’re implementing it. What does internal audit require on a day-to-day basis?

What Does an Internal Audit Require on a Day-to-Day Basis?

Part of your internal audit team should consist of project management personnel and operational auditors. Project management personnel are responsible for the execution of audit functions which translate activity at the operational level to information driven by reporting requirements established by executive management. Operational auditors are responsible for the execution of audit activities including compliance requirement identification, testing, evidence evaluation, and reporting. By now, though, you may be wondering what this team does on a day-to-day basis. The duties performed by internal auditors normally include:

  • Objectively review your organization’s business processes. This is the process of providing a non-biased assessment of the completeness and adequacy of an organization’s business processes with a focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of the process.

  • Evaluate the efficiency of risk management procedures that are currently in place. What one individual or business considers to be an acceptable risk may not be so reasonable to executive management. Internal audit represents management’s interests while evaluating risk decisions and handling techniques.

  • Protect against fraud and theft of the organization’s assets. Again, while serving as a representative of executive management, internal audit can identify and bring to light incidents of fraud, waste, and abuse.

  • Ensure that the organization is complying with relevant laws and regulations. Internal audit can create control mappings which translate legal, regulatory, or ethical requirements into actionable controls, which can be evaluated for compliance with defined requirements. For each separate legal statute or contractual obligation, a control can specifically address the organization’s business processes and translate business activities into measurable actions which support compliance.

  • Make recommendations on how to improve internal controls and governance processes. Based on control reviews, evidence collection, and interviews, internal audit can provide insights regarding how improving controls or the supporting process may better assess the organization’s compliance levels.

How Does an Internal Audit Team Work with a Third-Party Auditor?

Internal audit can be a valuable resource when working with third-party auditors since internal audit can supply the third-party auditor with control objectives used by the organization as well as the mappings to common frameworks for assessment. This activity allows third-party auditors to better understand the assessment activities performed by the organization and provide an assessment or opinion of the organization’s compliance efforts.

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10 Ways Printers Can Help Designers

Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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Designers are visual people and the best way to teach a visual person is to show them. Graphic designers are also curious people who generally like to see how things work. We all walk around with our cameras all day, lauding their efficiency for email, Slack, twitter and more. But it is the instant transmission of images and videos that make showing easy-as-pie.

Here are 10 ways you can use your smartphone to reach out to your designer clients, add value to your company website and make life easier for yourself. (Sales managers, appoint one person to collect this kind of knowledge and disseminate to the whole sales team.)

  1. Coated vs. Uncoated. Sit down with a designer and have two paper swatch books in front of you and explain coated paper versus uncoated paper. You will have saved yourself countless hours of “it looks like postcard paper” descriptions, and the like.

  2. Bleeds. Take a video of your guillotine cutter in action, preferably a job with a bleed. Zoom in on the crop marks, text it to your designer client. (Put it on your website too!)

  3. Grain. Look in your sample room for something with a nice black solid. Pull two samples. Fold one sample with the grain. Fold the other sample against the grain. Put them side-by-side folds-up and photograph with your phone. Open the image and crop to relevant image area and mark as a favorite in your phone for quick retrieval.

  4. Waste=Cost. Show your client an illustration of paper waste for various page sizes. Here are some examples you can use: (Put it on your website too!)

  5. Quantity matters. Walk into your pressroom and film a sheet-fed press at the delivery end while it is running for 30 seconds. Confirm run speed with pressman. Text video to the client explaining that’s how long it takes for (insert quantity here) brochures/posters, etc. to run through the press and why they should opt for digital printing on this short run. (At 15,000 iph 30 seconds is 125 sheets, 8-up that’s 1000 pieces!)

  6. Printing is green. Calculate how many pounds of trim, corrugated and electronics you recycle each year (if your trim is picked up and weighed by a recycler they have this info). Next time your vendor picks up a container run out to the parking lot and take a pic. Put the photo on your website with an infographic of the tonnage you recycle annually. Explain that the trim and corrugated goes into future recycled paper products.

  7. Ink can change color. Show your client this photo. Explain that the ink formulas with a high percentage of opaque white (basically all pastels) will shift within a year (swatch on left was two years old, on right 6 months, when photographed). Share that pastel colors are great for a short-lived item like an invitation not so great for an identity system.

  8. Paper makes a difference. Next time you’ve got an attractive job with photos that’s going to run on white paper, order some extra sheets of ivory, canary and grey uncoated paper. Add those colored sheets to the job and photograph the same detail area of all four colors. Make a montage (easy with the Layout app for iPhone). Send this montage to a client who is wondering about running a job on colored stock and put it on your website too.

  9. How to read a swatch book. Oh boy, if I had a penny for every time a customer found the “perfect paper” in a swatch book and placed an order specifying that sheet only to find out there wasn’t enough, or it wasn’t stocking or that the chosen color had been discontinued… This is a great topic to discuss at a quick lunch with a new customer. Text her an image showing how to look up the date of a swatch book. Then bring her some lunch and a few swatch books and show her how to “read” it.

  10. Art takes time. Text your idea of a rudimentary schedule to your client as a pdf graphic they can print out and pin to their idea wall. Next time they are working with a client to develop a timeline they won’t guess and it saves them and you a call/email.

I know that some will think that answering questions and fielding problems bring value to a client, and they do. But do they bring value to a business owner? If staff is reacting/interacting at the 100-foot level, how are they going to interact at the 30,000 foot level with intention? Focus on the little things with intention and planning and then the 30,000-foot questions aren’t as scary. What are your clients’ plans for next year? Are you discussing budgets internally? Are they planning on launching any new products or services within the next six months? These conversations are really easy when “what do I need a bleed for” is taken care of.

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A Vision for the Next Generation

Posted Thursday, April 19, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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Develop talent now for a successful future

While incentives such as bonuses and profit sharing are important, recognizing achievements and building self-esteem are priceless.

Some business owners procrastinate or avoid communicating their succession plans because they fear how family members and employees might react. However, their silence may actually create more stress and cause harm to the business. Most employees—including family members—will feel more secure about the future if they know what to expect and how they will fit in.

It’s never too late to develop a business succession plan. But the earlier you start, the better. Estate planning experts agree that long-term plans to transfer businesses are generally much more successful than those “patched together” following the unexpected death or disability of an owner.

Business succession actually begins with each employee’s first day on the job

Think about it, whether he or she is one of your children or a high school student working part-time, that young person could someday be the head of the company.

Experts agree—succession planning includes creating an environment that motivates employees to use their talents and skills to reach their full potential and contribute to the success of the business. Sounds simple, but how do you accomplish it?

Perhaps a mentor program or an apprenticeship is a good start. Talented young people are more likely to stay with the company if they feel involved in something bigger than their own job. It is wise to provide opportunities by matching experienced workers with newer employees to guide them as they grow in their jobs.

As employees gain experience, they become assets to your business and their value increases. Providing key employees opportunities to gain well-rounded business experience through cross-functional training and experience is admirable. This no doubt helps them become dependable managers who can make good decisions and take initiatives to improve operations.

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The Dawn of Smart Print Manufacturing is Here – Participation in the North American Software Survey to Reveal How Your Company Stacks Up!

Posted Friday, April 13, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

When flying coast-to-coast, autopilot is a good thing. When it comes to running your business, autopilot likely won’t take you where you want to go. Print Service Providers (PSPs) can take advantage of the valuable opportunity to participate in the North American Print Investment survey from Keypoint Intelligence—InfoTrends.

Click Here to Participate.

Who is taking control of their workflow and who is not, and why not? How do the strategic directions declared by PSPs match their actual levels of software and IT spend? Last year we learned that North American printers were behind their European counterparts. Will we find the same this year? Survey respondents will get the answers to these important questions—and many more findings—when key insights from the research is published in May.

About InfoTrends

InfoTrends is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the imaging, document solutions, production printing, and digital media industries. We provide insights and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and grow their businesses.

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Tackle Financial Stress with Education

Posted Friday, April 13, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

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By Joseph Trybula via Printers401K

Seventy-Seven percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and 41% give themselves a C, D, or F in personal finance, according to citations in a recent white paper from Financial Fitness Group.

The situation has a serious impact today, and perhaps a worse tomorrow, considering estimates that about 1/3 or working Americans have no retirement savings. The cost to employers of employee financial stress, according to one course cited in the paper, may be $15,000 per employee per year. 3

There is good news: employers are in the best position to make an impact on the numbers. Combining financial literacy education as a regular part of 401(k) plan communication can lead to changes in behavior. In turn, these changes may lead to better financial stability for employees during, and after, their working years.

If you plan to offer employees a program of financial education, be sure the one you choose is engaging and interactive. The information should be easily accessible and flexible, too. Both can be achieved through web-based tools the employee can use whenever and wherever individual circumstances allow.

Here are additional blog post about Financial Wellness programs available to your employees and how to increase employee participation in your 401k plan. As always if you have any questions, please contact me at or 800.307.0376.

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