Horizontal audit – What is it, definition and concept

A horizontal audit is one that is carried out jointly between several departments of the same organization.

In other words, it is an audit that analyzes the same process or control that various departments or sections of an organization may share.

We must remember that an audit is, in the business field, the evaluation process of a company or organization in order to know its characteristics. This, particularly in terms of profitability and efficiency.

Characteristics of the horizontal audit

This kind of audits focuses on testing the effectiveness or proper functioning of the same process that is repeated in different parts of a company.

Its main goal is to specifically evaluate said process individually in each department or place and, also, jointly. In this way, a diagnosis and a conclusion of how the process affects by sectors and at a global level in the entity is achieved.

It should be noted that, on the one hand, the horizontal audit is responsible for examining, as has been mentioned, a common process spread over several places. But, on the other hand, there is also the so-called vertical audit. This tries to analyze in this case a set of processes of a specific place. This specific place can be defined from a department or sector to a specific company of a business group.

Therefore, vertical and horizontal audits, as a whole, are nothing more than the traditional audits that are given in a general way in companies, only that in principle they have a greater degree of detail if either of the two is chosen.

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Example of use of horizontal audits

The use of this type of audit can occur due to:

  • A necessary evaluation of a recently implemented technological process, such as cards or security tokens.
  • Examine whether a process is carried out with the same efficiency in different places or sectors of the company. An example may be internal accounting or control of expenses in diets and travel.
  • Check if the level of ethics and good practices is homogeneous in the company. For this, the image that each department has within the company should be analyzed, analyzing if the vision and the image that they want to project is correct and if it is the same or not.

Then, as can be seen, the audit can be implemented in fields such as technology, economics, and even marketing and HR.

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