Among the relevance of regular internal audits, companies can mention fraud detection, testing of internal control, monitoring company policies and determining the efficiency of government regulation. This is why, big and small companies rely on them to ensure growth and development.
In addition, internal auditors are often expected to develop new plans and encourage new skills that will solve the potential problems encountered in the categories previously mentioned.
A recent report by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Research Foundation, Driving Success in a Changing World: 10 Imperatives for Internal Audit, offers tips for internal auditors on where to focus their attention. The report identifies 10 ways in which auditors can meet the expectations and provide exceptional work:
Anticipate the needs of stakeholders. The study explains that it in order to know what the stakeholders need, it is essential to establish and maintain communication channels, as well as involving them in the audit work.
Develop forward-looking risk management practices. Auditors must be aware of potential impact of future events and its consequences along the company. However, they must fit every plan according to the company’s policies.
Continually advise the board and audit committee. According to the report, it is vital for auditors to be transparent when it comes to potential issues that could affect the company from a business perspective. They must also provide their opinion on business management and explain whether control environments are effective or not.
Be courageous. According to Robert Kella, senior vice president of internal audit for Emirates Group, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, “The business has to know the audit function has teeth.”
Support the business’s objectives. Auditing teams must have a clear and measurable strategy to fulfill the organization’s goals. In addition, it is helpful for auditors to acquire industry-specific certifications.
Identify, monitor and deal with emerging technology risks. In every business, technology risks are evolving. This is why auditors are expected to keep up with the ever-changing issues and constantly find ways to overcome them.
Enhance audit findings through greater use of data analytics. Analyzing complete data sets through new technologies allows internal auditors to improve efficiency and sophistication in auditing data-rich areas.
Go beyond the IIA’s standards. According to the report, these standards require high quality and commitment from internal auditors. However, internal audit should also go beyond the standards to deliver specific, high-value activities for the organization.
Invest in yourself. Besides relying on their employees for training, internal auditors must also invest in themselves. From learning new skills to understanding the company, they must work hard to become the professionals they are expected to be. According to the report, as many as 4 out of 10 respondents reported fewer than 40 hours of training per year.
Recruit, motivate, and retain great team members. Finding ways to motivate employees to improve their skills is essential when it comes to having a diverse team. The report explains that the accounting field is expected to be more balanced between men and women in the future.
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