What is a Devil's Advocate Audit?

A Devil's Advocate Audit is a thorough process used to scrutinize business and strategic plans. In determining the merits of a plan, a Devil's Advocate Auditor will employ analytical reasoning as well as subjective analysis in connection with issuing an assessment of the plan. The following are just a few of the considerations included in a Devil's Advocate Audit:

  • What is the quality of data behind the assumptions?
  • Which information is not presented but should be?
  • How realistic are the assumptions?
  • What are the analogs and antilogs of the plan?
  • Is the financial modeling sound?
  • Has the financial model been stress-tested?
  • Are there hidden agendas among the key players?
  • What are the key person risks?
  • Are sufficient resources committed to the plan?
  • Is the plan in accordance with the temperament of key constituents?
  • How much precedential value should any near-term success be given?
  • How portable is the concept and how scalable is the business model?
  • Have compensation policies been modified to increase the chance of the plan's success?
  • Is there sufficient commitment at senior levels to ensure a commitment to execution?
  • What exogenous factors could derail the strategic plan?
  • Are you prepared to tolerate many disappointments to learn what the business really is?