Protect & enhance value through internal audit

Internal Audit

Bring internal audit beyond the third line of defense to an integral part of your organization’s approach to risk management.

A man looks at the Pudong financial district of Shanghai November 20, 2013.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

New challenges

The world is rapidly changing for today’s internal auditors. Their roles are evolving from cop to counselor, and they are proactively engaged with the business. They are now the first line of defense, rather than waiting for issues to emerge.

Businesses now look to internal auditors to provide advice and insight into how processes and internal controls could be improved. In addition, many chief audit executives (CAEs) report into the relevant Board’s committee, enhancing their independence.

What’s driving the rapid organizational change?

Changes in this role are driven by a wide range of corporate issues, including:

  • Increased connectivity and emerging risks
  • Rapidly evolving regulatory landscapes
  • Consumers and shareholders demanding more transparency
  • Increasingly global operations that may include emerging markets
  • Recent financial and political disruptions and volatility.

The new skills required

Internal audit may have originated as a function that looked primarily at financial controls, but now it includes complying with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and initiatives like COSO 2013. The Institute of Internal Auditors is continually reviewing their International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) to understand the impact these changes may have.

Professionals also need to understand the risks their organization faces, and be able to enhance risk-aware decision-making among its leaders. Many professionals are deeply involved in the identification of emerging risks. Others are performing risk culture audits on their organizations.

Technology solutions for internal auditors

To be a head of internal audit today, or an individual who is aspiring to this role, a new range of key skill sets is needed, including:

  • A thorough understanding of the new requirements of the position
  • Critical thinking and the ability to continue learning
  • Deep industry expertise and corporate knowledge
  • Leadership and the ability to be comfortable in the C-suite
  • A firm grasp of the importance of internal teamwork and partnering
  • The ability to view the organization holistically and from an external point of view.

As a result of these changes, teams are turning to technological solutions to help them organize and execute audit programs.

Internal audit software solutions improve efficiency – and also provide in-depth reporting that enables executives to deliver real value to the business.

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