Why the Internal Audit Profession Needs To “Level-Up”.

Level-up Internal Audit Summit

2 Feb 22

My Audit Spot

4 mins

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During the last couple of decades, internal auditors were expected to submit an annual report to an audit committee. After the committee’s approval, this report would guide audit activities throughout the coming year. Today that doesn’t happen often. An auditor’s research schedule can change just as much from quarter-to-quarter as it does from day-to-day. Internal auditors play a greater role and are responsible now for assisting the company in its development.

Their essential strength lies in understanding that the world and its organizations are in constant flux and new risks at times, emerge overnight. As the role evolves, speed and flexibility are qualities required by leading auditors. Additionally, a combination of technical and soft skills, education, and training ensure their success.

Build Personal Value through Additional Certification

Professional development in the field of internal audit is critical to an auditor’s reputation and credibility. In practice, an auditor’s performance can be significantly influenced by certification. Multiple certifications drive career advancement, salary increases and expert experience as a subject matter specialist. Your marketability is increased as local chapters and conferences provide speaking engagement opportunities; broadening your personal Network.

Some internal auditors prefer to gain additional certificates related to specific areas within audit such as Risk Management, Information Technology, or, Fraud.

Relationship Building

Developing trust and gaining respect at all management levels calls on the best auditors to have strong relationship building skills. Creating an effective working relationship with the client requires performing their due diligence to understand the business ,developing a partnering approach, and maintaining open communication lines to maximize the success of the audit.

Data-Driven Decisions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides a wealth of information for the auditor to make informed decisions. Data analytics improve the quality of the audit by enabling the confirmation for accuracy and interpreting the results in the organization’s financial statements. Use of AI eliminates the manual process allowing auditors to quickly identify and understand anomalies and trends in the areas of Risk Management or Fraud. This has become a core skill for all auditors today.

Good Governance

In order to provide assurance and insight to a company’s governance process, the internal auditor is excluded from all governance discussions. Audit work is directly related to the independence and importance given to the internal audit function within the organization.

The head of internal audit needs to be promoted to a position aligned with the Accounting Officer or higher to minimize poor internal audit opinions and improve the quality of the audit. Internal auditors should identify the forces influencing governance. They should continually refine their knowledge of these influences and should report to and recommend actions that will assist the organization in combating traditional and emerging risks.

Cyber Security

Today’s transition from desktop to public and private cloud computing infrastructure, offers excellent payoffs for an active cyber security force operating all global businesses. The threats to sensitive data around the world continue to grow. As an internal auditor with a info security background or who partners with the Information Security Officer should conduct a cyber risk assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of the client’s Internal Controls which should be integrated in an organization’s day-to-day operations. The need for an additional line of defence against cyber-attacks requires an independent internal audit review of the client’s security measures and their performance.

Effective Communication

To ensure that business leaders appreciate an auditor’s input and heed their advice, all written analyses and reports must be clear, straightforward, and easy to understand. An auditor with excellent communication will include visuals such as graphs, tables and diagrams in their presentations. This is especially important for successfully bringing complex and detailed information together for board and audit committee consideration.

Final Thoughts

The Importance of sharpening non-technical skills for Internal auditors of the future cannot be understated. We will need to be fast, flexible, empathetic, with a multicultural mindset, and able to work well with others. Internal audit staff should possess broad and in-depth skills, such as public speaking, developing relationships with board committees, implementing new technologies, and managing conflict.

To Level Up and to be totally effective, an internal auditor needs to keep pace with evolving technologies, and collectively apply all the competencies mentioned here today. Auditors that meet the challenge to the use of emotional intelligence, strong interpersonal skills will attest to the levelling-up and value add to their craft.

You can attend the FREE summit here: https://www.levelupinternalauditsummit.com/