People working together on an IT compliance audit

A 5-step checklist to prepare for a compliance audit

There are many types of compliance audits and different levels of audits within those types. But preparing for an audit — no matter what type or level it is — will always be a relatively similar process.

Here’s a simple 5-step checklist to help you prepare for your next compliance audit.

Conduct a self-audit

First and foremost, you should never go into a compliance audit not knowing what to expect. You should have a pretty decent understanding of how things will turn out for your company.

But for this to happen, you need to perform a self-audit. Build a small internal team or hire a contractor to go through your company department-by-department to determine how your company will fare in a real audit, where the weaknesses exist, and what needs to be improved.

Know the lay of the land

This expands to cover a variety of angles — everything from documents and processes to privileged users and business associates.

Who’s accessing what, should they be accessing this data, and do you have a clear record of this access?

Who are your business associates, do you have a list of these BAs, and is this list complete with up-to-date contact information and details?

Do you have the proper documents readily available and do you have your processes built, detailed, and listed somewhere?

The quicker you can answer these questions and present the right information, the smoother your audit will go.

Train your staff

Your entire staff should be trained on compliance. But aside from that, you also need to consider training your staff on what to do and how to present themselves during an audit.

Think of it as warming up before the big game.

You need to make sure that your staff knows where to find stuff, how to answer questions correctly, and who’s responsible for what.

Do the normal things

At the end of the day, the person who’s going to audit your company is someone you should want to impress. So aside from getting the documentation, processes, and staff under control … you should also get the building itself under control.

Clean up, organize, and make sure everything looks orderly. On top of that, set aside an area for the auditor to work. At some point, that person will probably require some space, so set up a desk or spare conference room ahead of time.

Understand the risk

If you’re reading this article, then you most likely understand that failing to pass a compliance audit is detrimental to your business.

However, it’s also important to understand that this checklist is simply you preparing for the audit. If you don’t have everything properly set up to begin with, then you’ll be dealing with an entirely different monster. And in that case, it’s important to hunt down a specialist who can help get your company compliant.


If you’d like more information on how to prepare your business for a compliance audit, take a look at our IT projects and services. We have decades of combined experience helping companies get in better technical shape, and we’d love to help your company, too.