THE INNOVATIVE INTERNAL AUDITOR
They see internal audit playing a vital role in their efforts to
successfully navigate the fast-moving business environment.
That is great news for internal auditors, but it is also
a challenge. Traditional auditing is undoubtedly right for
many projects; however, when auditors need to deal with the
uncertainties inherent in planned business strategies, it is an
approach that is less relevant to the velocity of our current
business environment. Internal auditors can build upon the
steps they have taken to meet these new challenges by focusing more effort on innovation. That is why “Internal Audit
Innovation” is my theme as chairman of the North American
Board for 2017–2018.
I passionately believe that internal audit has a vital
role to play in the success of our organizations. But I also
believe that to be up to the task, we need to refresh our
commitment to innovation in internal audit. We need
to push further and harder on the steps we have taken so
far in areas such as audit automation, data analytics, and
rethinking our audit processes and methodologies, as well
as taking the first steps toward the use of robotics in our
audit work. Innovation must be at the core of internal
audit’s remit if it is to keep pace with the developments in
our own organizations and beyond.
A WORK IN PROGRESS
Many internal auditors are working their hardest to meet
their stakeholders’ expectations with often constrained
resources — including tight budgets, limited staff, and ever-changing competency demands. Even so, stakeholders seem
to continually want internal audit to add more value. Most
chief audit executives (CAEs) I meet really care about this
issue. They speak with their various stakeholders, try to
understand what they value, and modify their audit plans
and strategies accordingly. But priorities change much more
quickly than in the past, so it can be difficult to see how it
is possible to keep doing more and still provide the baseline
assurances stakeholders expect.
This is precisely why the innovation mindset is so
relevant today. It says internal audit should be a work in
progress. That processes are adaptable and open to rapid
revision as circumstances change. That audit finds more
forward-looking ways of working to adapt to stakeholders’
changing needs. And that technology is a great enabler when
Many internal auditors have already embarked on this
journey. But I am calling on everyone to turbocharge their
innovation efforts. We can do an even better job of keeping
ahead of the rapid developments both within our organizations and beyond if we make a conscious effort to embed
innovation in our audit functions.
Innovation must be at the
core of internal audit’s remit
if it is to keep pace with the
developments in our own
organizations and beyond.
I urge CAEs and everyone
on the internal audit team
to make a commitment to
embrace innovation today.