The audit is an independent and certified examination of all the activities presented in the report which affect people and the environment. It ensures the quality of the Common Good Balance Sheet. The audit certificate is a seal of approval: it assures the credibility of the report to stakeholders.
Feedback conversations stimulate critical reflections on the ECG values and how they relate to company activities. This heightens consciousness around doing business differently and starts a process of further development.
There are two ways of completing your Common Good Balance Sheet:
- If a company works together with other companies in a peer group to produce its report, this is regarded as a peer evaluation.
- In all other cases, the report is evaluated by an external audit.
In both cases, external audit as well as peer evaluation, the final results are clearly displayed in a certificate.
The external audit is the last stage before publishing your Common Good Report. The audit includes independent evaluation as well as feedback, flagging up areas for future development.
As part of the Visiting Audit, interviews are held with employees of the company from different functional areas and hierarchical levels. This involves verifying the statements in the ECG report and providing additional information. If necessary, the auditors ask for access to documents, such as contracts or survey results. The visit also offers a good opportunity for feedback and exchange on potential for further development.
Based on the results of the interviews, the audit report is supplemented and an initial assessment from an audit perspective is carried out. During the final feedback discussion with the client (team) via Skype (on request personally on site, if additional travel costs are covered), the final assessment is discussed. You will receive the certificate as confirmation of the audit.
The visiting audit takes place every two to six years, depending on the size of the company (see below).
In the case of a Desk Audit, the accuracy and traceability of the reporting is evaluated on the basis of the submitted documents, without an on-site visit. The audit report is created based on your Common Good Report. For the best possible results, auditors can request additional documentation as required.
In the final feedback discussion with the client (team) via Skype, the final assessment is discussed. You will receive the certificate as confirmation of the audit.
First send the application form to the audit team (see checklist below). An auditor is assigned to you – for larger companies, this may be a team. Details regarding the audit process, timetable and costs are discussed with you before the start.
After starting the audit process, the report is verified, through the evaluation of documentation, personal calls and visits to the company. A distinction is made between a visit audit, a desk audit or a group audit. The Common Good Report, as well as the self-assessed results are critically assessed from a cross-sector perspective. The auditors may therefore adjust the scoring from the self-assessment.
An audit report will explain how the external assessment was reached. The justification for the scores is made at the level of the sub-indicators. Where possible, best-practice examples are used to illustrate the measures. The audit report points out existing strengths and development potential and often forms the basis for valuable feedback discussions, which contribute to the further development of the company.
A certificate is issued at the end of the audit process. This shows the score for each indicator, as well as the total number of points. With the certificate, the Common Good Report is recognised as the Common Good Balance Sheet for a period of two years.
The certificate is valid for two years. Thereafter, a new Common Good Report should be created and submitted for an external audit. In order to keep moving in the right direction, it is useful to set milestones to check your progress.
For all questions regarding the audit, please contact email@example.com or ask your ECG consultant.
In a peer evaluation, a small group of companies are guided through the Common Good Report process by an ECG consultant over a series of workshops. The drafting of the Common Good Report is a joint learning process. The evaluation of each company’s contribution to the common good is made with help of peers.
Finally, the results are submitted to the audit plattform by the ECG consultant. The peer certificate, a preliminary step towards the audit certificate, also represents a seal of quality: it assures the credibility of the report for stakeholders.
A peer evaluation can only be done once, during the preparation of the first Balance Sheet.
Peer Evaluation Process
The entire process, and in particular the final module, needs to be moderated and documented by a qualified ECG consultant or auditor. They act as facilitators and can help with assembling a peer group. To register your interest in an peer-evaluation contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information can be found in the Peer evaluation guidelines (German).
Here are some examples of Peer-evaluated ECG companies.
A peer group consists of four to six companies. Over a period of 3 to 6 months, they come together in 4 to 5 half-day workshops to develop a deeper understanding of the indicators and sub-indicators. This strengthens the basis for creating reports and promotes a lively exchange resulting in mutual learning.
As the final stage of the joint learning process, each company’s report is submitted to the peers for scoring – a peer evaluation takes place. After thorough reading of the documentation, the final evaluation of the respective contributions to the common good will be determined as part of a final workshop module: Each participating company presents and justifies its assessment of the peers to the group. Where there are large differences between self-assessments and peer-assessments, the final result is decided by the method of systemic consensus.
The ECG consultant who has been facilitating the process sends the documentation, the peer evaluation and the completed reports and evaluations to email@example.com. External audits by ECG auditors are then carried out. It takes about 2-4 weeks depending on the amount of work required and availability. If everything is available and verifiable, a certificate is issued. There is a certificate fee of 50 Euros plus 20% sales tax.
A peer evaluation can only be done once, during the preparation of the first balance sheet. In order to ensure the comparability of all balance sheet results, external audits are indispensable.