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Virtual Classroom: Root Cause Analysis

This course is for experienced internal audit staff, managers and Chief Audit Executives who want to look at best practices around analysing the root causes of their audit findings.

Associated with this is the question of how to analyse themes from audit assignments in order to reveal key underlying problems in governance, risk and compliance that may need senior management or board attention.

We have split the one-day virtual course into two half days :
Wednesday November 24rd from 13.00 – 16.30 and Thursday November 25th from 9.00 – 12.15. We will be using Zoom for this session and offer training in advance to get you familiar with Zoom and make sure you are able to log on.

What will I learn?

Upon completion you will be able to:

  • understand key IIA requirements, key root cause analysis techniques beyond the five whys approach and why these are a crucial tool for delivering insight and foresight
  • gain a clearer sense of how an audit methodology can be improved in order to deliver more robust and consistent root cause analysis – recognising there are always at least two root causes for any issue
  • see how effective root cause analysis should not normally slow down an audit assignment but rather help it to be better focussed in the first place
  • understand good practice RCA categories (not culture, tone at the top, or failings by individual employees) and how these can be linked to assessments of organisational culture.

Course programme

  • Key Chartered IIA guiance
    – the Chartered IIA practice advisory note on RCA.
  • Four key RCA techniques and how they complement one another
    – key RCA techniques, principally based on lean techniques.
  • Application of RCA to auditing
    – review of various audit case studies.
  • Managing time to avoid delays.
    – examine the ways RCA can speed up audit assignments, not delay them.
  • Benefits from RCA
    – looking at the ways effective RCA can help deliver shorter, more impactful audit reports with insight and foresight.
  • Themes and RCA categories
    – the importance of having appropriate RCA categories, so that audit findings can be properly themed – both what and why.
  • Practical action steps
    understand how RCA and thematic analysis play a key role in understanding culture and how this also links to political factors.

Who should attend?

Experienced auditors, audit managers and heads of internal audit.


You will get 7 CPE points for attending this course.


James C. Paterson is a finance professional who then became the Chief Audit Executive for AstraZeneca PLC. He has been consulting and training since 2010 and delivers workshops for 12 IIA institutes across Europe, including Belgium. Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. James has also presented at several 3 IIA International conferences on a range of topics. He is the author of the book “Lean Auditing” which is about new ways of auditing to drive efficiency and effectiveness and added value. His specialist areas of work include Assurance Mapping, Root cause analysis, Audit culture and influencing and political savvy for internal auditors.

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