48 INTERNAL AUDITOR
THE INNOVATIVE INTERNAL AUDITOR
process. And tap into that wealth of often unexploited talent — new professionals. Newer internal audit professionals who aren’t tied to tried-and-true ways of working can
bring a fresh perspective and an openness to technology as
an enabler of innovation.
FROM ANALYTICS TO ROBOTICS
Analytics have been around for a long time. But it is a nut
most auditors have not fully cracked, or fully embraced,
across the entire audit life cycle. It represents a great
opportunity for innovation. Leveraging different types of
analytical methods for risk assessment, planning, execution, and reporting can massively boost the efficiency
and outcomes of our audit work. Auditors who have not
yet innovated their processes in this area can make giant
strides very quickly and, in doing so, improve the speed
and depth of the assurance they provide.
The biggest conversation I am having in my firm and
with cutting-edge internal audit functions is about robotics and what that means for our businesses. Robots, or bots,
have moved from the factory floor to finance functions,
shared service areas, and other professional areas of work.
Internal auditors who take the time to find out what robotics
means from a risk and control perspective are likely to be in
for a pleasant surprise.
For example, some audit functions are investigating using
bots for routine control testing work. They have found that
bots can perform those tasks in a fraction of the time and for
a fraction of the cost of a real person. So, while some consultants talk about robotics in terms of cutting head count and
costs — auditors are beginning to explore how it can alleviate
the perennial constraints of resources and budget.
THE 2017-18 IIA NORTH
AMERICAN BOARD CHAIRMAN
Shannon Urban is executive director, Risk Advisory, at EY in Boston. With EY since 2001, Urban currently leads growth strategies at the
firm as its Northeast Region Internal Audit and Internal Controls Competency leader. She has worked
with internal audit departments of all sizes and in
multiple industries, including financial services,
health care, government, industrial products, and
Urban has worked widely on innovation in internal
audit, including on EY’s internal audit delivery methodology and tools to support internal audit engagements. Previously, she was audit manager at Fidelity
Investments, and senior audit officer at State Street
Corp., both in Boston, and senior staff auditor at Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I.
Urban has been The IIA’s North American Board
senior vice chair, a Global Board member, an Audit
Committee member (2014–2015), and an Institute
Relations Committee member (2011–2015). She has
been active in The IIA’s Greater Boston Chapter
as president (2002–2003), treasurer (2001), and a
member of its Board of Governors.
INNOVATION ACTION POINTS
think and act
to an ongoing