Business trends show internal audit teams and chief audit executives (CAEs) are impacting the business climate by expanding their traditional assurance and consulting roles. According to a new report by the Institute of Internal Auditors
(IIA), business management is shifting focus from recession survival tactics to growth strategies for economic recovery. With this shift comes an increased focus on company-wide initiatives, particularly fraud and risk management.
According to the report, titled Internal Auditing in 2010: Shifting Priorities for a Changing Environment, CAEs see risk management as the key area of focus for internal audits, both now and in the future.
Traditional risk management roles are still an important responsibility for internal audit, including remaining current on the complex regulatory environment resulting from Sarbanes-Oxley, achieving reasonable yet effective internal controls and data systems, and working with increasingly sophisticated business executives.
One area of anticipated growth for internal audit is automation, including data analytics and continuous audit procedures thought monitoring software. CAEs see dramatic results from the introduction of these practices, including:
- Increased internal audit quality and efficiency
- Recommendations based on real-time, data-driven findings
- Identifying potential risk areas related to M&A, process transformations or expansion into new geographies
- Bottom-line savings and recoveries through fraud and error reduction, and
- Sustainability through stored practices, knowledge and data rather than reliance on individual personnel