The Five Levels Of Maturity In Auditing

Audits are essential tools for checking that your organisation is keeping up with industry standards and best practices. They also help to identify where you need to improve. As such, every industry needs to use them, from retail to facility management

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CCMI) has emerged as a beneficial way to characterise and guide maturity in auditing. 

Read on to learn about the five levels of maturity to help you achieve high standards for auditing in your organisation.


1. Initial


At the first level, your organisation’s auditing processes are usually chaotic. There are no formal risk assessment or audit processes in place. The environment is usually not stable, and your processes generally undergo rapid, undocumented changes.

As such, the results of your operations are often unpredictable, and cannot be scaled or re-measured. Success is usually due to the competence of individuals, instead of having successful systems in place.

Typical for this level: Reactive audits, no risk assessments in place.


2. Repeatable


Once you have reached the second level, your audits should now have more focus and meet basic objectives.  This means that you can repeat them and they should be able to produce predictable results. Although it is still far from a refined auditing process, you will start achieving some of your basic goals.

At this stage, your focus should be on data quality and process maturity. The data quality can be improved with clear instructions and an audit tool that guides end-users to fill in required information. 

Typical for this level: Desktop audits that review quality documents of the organisation to ensure compliance to higher level documents.


3. Defined


At this level, you will begin to have more formalised auditing processes. As such, you will start to see an increase in the consistency of your processes and their results.

Typically, you will no longer focus on current problems with your processes and will start identifying and preventing future problems. A solid plan to improve your processes will start forming.

Your focus should be on the quality of your deliverables. This will be achievable with different types of audits, such as Process Audits, Work Audits, and Delivery Audits, that your organisation should already be familiar with.

Typical for this level: Process audits, work product audits and delivery audits.


4. Managed


By the time you have reached the fourth level, your processes will be more established and sophisticated. A set of metrics that allow you to measure the effectiveness of your processes should emerge and guide development plans.

Now, your goal should be set at preventing delivery outage. Your processes should synthesise into an Execution Maturity Audit, which will help you achieve this goal.

Typical for this level: Execution Maturity Audit.


5. Optimised


The final stage involves an ongoing process of continually looking for new ways to improve your audit, with the goal set at enabling business excellence.

Your audits should include Engagement Maturity Audits, that will help you focus on infrastructure, finance, your employees, customer relations, security and more.

Typical for this level: Engagement Maturity Audit.


Final Thoughts


Every organisation wants mature auditing processes. However, reaching that goal can seem daunting. It can help to know where you are in the process, what you have achieved and what lies ahead.

The CCMI five levels of maturity can be applied to auditing, which will hopefully help guide your journey to mature auditing practices in your organisation.

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Arttu Vesterinen

Chief Executive Officer