Audit Prerequisites
Audit Prerequisites

Audit Prerequisites

To maximize the efficiency of the audit process, here are some tips to get you prepared.

This preparation will likely be useful in other contexts, e.g., a newcomer arrives in your company and wants to understand how things work internally.

Take this list as a general foundation for what I'll ask for during the audit, and feel free to add anything else that's unique to your company.

Also, feel free to completely skip questions that seem irrelevant to your case.

Context and the basics

  • What kind of audit do you need? (due dil before investment by VC/angel or M&A, an overview of strengths and weaknesses, etc.)
  • Are there specific items you want to address during this audit?

How are things going today?

  • Product & Tech:
    • What are you doing; what value do you offer?
    • High-level platform description (functionalities, apps, services, websites, processes, and whatever else could be relevant in your case)
    • Notable dependencies & constraints (SaaS, tools, vendors, homemade technical debts, legal, contracts, customer needs, etc.)
    • What makes your product unique and valuable in comparison to 70% of competitors?
    • What are the 3 highest priority issues you feel you have at this point in time?
  • HR:
    • Organization chart
    • Anything valuable to share about your culture, processes, etc.?
    • Who should I contact for key topics? (Who leads the team, the roadmap, the strategy, etc.?)
  • Performance:
    • Some metrics (users, activities, load, customers, database sizes – whatever helps to understand your operations)
    • Who are your competitors, and how are they different?

How did you get there?

  • Product & Tech:
    • High-level history and milestones in term of product/offer/development
    • Why did you choose the stack/tech you're currently using? Are you planning to update it, and what would be required?
    • In the past, have you been sticking to your roadmaps, or have you diverged from them? Why?
    • Has your system ever been exploited? (vulnerability exploits, unintended usage, etc. – external or internal)
  • HR:
    • High-level history in term of HR (hires, fires, team organizations, etc.)
    • Why do people leave? Why do they stay?
  • Operations:
    • Which marketing move got you the most/best customers?
    • Why do your customers leave? Why do they stay?
    • Overall, did anything go better than expected?
    • What are some recent issues? How did you address them? (production, hiring, etc.)

What about the future?

  • Product & Tech
    • Short-term roadmap
    • Long-term roadmap/vision
  • HR:
    • Planned recruitment
    • Planned organization chart changes
  • Misc:
    • What challenges do you expect?
    • Which of your competitors are highest on your radar?

I suggest you keep the resulting documentation updated. It's a good way to keep the most pertinent information on hand for auditors, newcomers, investors, etc.