Is it ok to benchmark your internal audit team?

Why assessing your team against the Internal Audit Competency Framework is a good idea

The success of an Internal Audit team is dependant on its people. Where the audit team fails to meet minimum standards, its unlikely that audit is adding any value to the organisation, nor is it providing the Audit Committee, Board and Management the assurance which they require.


To help ensure an audit team is continuously meeting its minimum standards, but also striving to improve, the Institute of Internal Auditors released the Internal Audit Competency Framework, which you can download here. As per the IIA website, "the IIA’s Internal Audit Competency Framework provides a clear and concise professional development plan for internal auditors at every level of their career".


Why use the IIA's Internal Audit Competency Framework?

This Framework provides a great minimum standard for all audit teams to follow. It breaks down key knowledge areas across each level of auditor, clearly detailing what minimum skills and knowledge they should present. This baseline expectation can be easily expanded upon to suit your own team and organisation.


How to perform benchmarking?

Using the IIA's Internal Audit Competency Framework, each team member should be able to rate their current level of performance against each knowledge area. Team members should be able to apply one of the following ratings; No opportunity to demonstrate, Developing, Meeting Expectations Sometimes, Meeting Expectations Consistently, Exceeding Expectations.


From here, team member should be able to justify how they have demonstrated their rating. Furthermore, they should be able to state where they want to be in the next 6 and 12 months, what they need to do to get there, and what support they require.


Once completed, the self-assessment completed by the team member should be provided to their line manager who can perform their own assessment. The variance is then used as a discussion point with the team member during one of your regular performance catch up's.


The manager can then consolidate the results of each individual team members self-assessment and manager review. The consolidated results should highlight skills gaps, or areas where more training and focus is required. The manager can then develop a learning plan, similar to the one which we discuss in this blog post.


What to do after the benchmarking?

In addition to the learning plan which has been developed, the team member and the line manager should work together to formulate some new goals for the team member. Where necessary, a Personal Development Plan (PDP) should also be developed to ensure the team member continues to grow and develop.


Every 6 months, team members should re-perform their self assessment and build their own progress overtime. This will help the team member show where they have grown the most, where they have stalled, and where further training and development is still required.


Things to be careful about

Whilst this activity is great to help identify skills gaps, care should be taken to not damage the culture within the audit team. Team members should not be made to feel like they are competing with their colleagues or that this can be used against them in the future, however it should be made clear that this activity can help them ensure they are on the right path for both professional and career development.


The benefits of benchmarking team members is just another great way to ensure the continued success of your internal audit team. Have you done this with your team? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comment's section below.


#InternalAudit #Audit #Development #Training #Learning #IIA


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