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External Audits and Periodic Reviews Should Be Welcomed, Not Feared


Leaders aren’t always fond of audits. They worry that an auditor will come in, tear apart what seems at the time like their life’s work and they’ll be left in tatters! It’s a bit melodramatic to be sure and not really accurate either.

Whether it’s an external audit or a periodic review, both should be welcomed by leaders rather than approached with fear or anxiety. Looking at them from a positive perspective, things can only get better when knowing there are issues. Then systems and procedures can be improved from there. This leads to better results in the future. 

Periodic Reviews Shouldn’t Only Be When Something Has Gone Wrong

Just like with the annual performance review that’s done so infrequently as to be barely relevant, periodic reviews shouldn’t happen every few years. Instead, every few months is a better timeframe to get a good handle on how that part of the business is performing, where things can be improved, and also what procedures need overhauling. 

The people at the company get so busy with running the business that it’s difficult to stand back and observe how it is functioning. Even the managers have a full plate and don’t often find the time to observe from a distance.

Therefore, when technology has moved on and there are better ways to get tasks completed or to verify something is done correctly, this doesn’t get implemented quickly (if at all). By having someone perform a review, it allows the business to take a collective breath to see where it’s falling short or could do better. 

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Healthcare Auditors Already Taking the Lead

Healthcare bills many times have overstated charges, extra unrelated items, and incorrect coding. Some of these get picked up before the bill is paid, but many times they don’t.

Healthcare plan providers, consultants, and other parties use healthcare audits to verify that the billing was right. There are numerous categories within healthcare and so the billing is extremely complicated. Due to this, there are several types of healthcare audits to pick up when there might have been coding errors, extra charges, genuine mistakes, and fraud, as the linked article explains.

Using big data even helps isolate unrelated items that the human eye might not spot. This is because many cases can quickly be cross-referenced to look for consistent mistakes and strong indicators of fraud based on past examples. 

Systems and Procedures Get Modernized and Improved

When doing an audit or running a review, companies isolate when their systems are currently inadequate and making the problem worse. They can also spot when individual procedures are outdated, include extra steps that aren’t needed any longer or can be modernized to make them faster and more accurate. 

By reviewing what’s going on within departments, companies can improve operational performance without spending more on personnel to achieve it. Similarly, by using appropriate auditing through a third-party with more data points to work with, they can find mistakes that wouldn’t be found internally and make valid recommendations. 

There’s always a place for external auditors and periodic reviews to improve operations. Really, there’s nothing to fear. They can only make the company better. 

Sean Jacobson

I'm Sean, a former HR and business consultant providing you insights into the business world for Leader to Leader.

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