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Future of Internal Auditing

A 2009 survey conducted by Deloitte asked its respondents to predict the role of internal auditors in the future. Respondents differed in their forecasts based on their role in the corporation. While audit committee and board members predicted that the future role of internal audit would be that of assurance provider, executives and internal auditors projected that the role would be more of consultant/management advisor.

A 2011 survey of chief audit executives in the U.S. suggests that the focus of internal auditing is becoming broader. The internal auditor of today is expected to do more than monitor the financial compliance of a company; (s)he is called upon to help drive greater value throughout the company. Early in the 2000s, the passing of increased financial reporting regulations (SOX) shifted the focus of internal auditing to compliance. In more recent years, however, the emphasis has shifted more toward risk management. A 2012 survey of chief audit executives conducted by Ernst & Young found that the top five improvement priorities for internal audit were: (1) improving the risk assessment process, (2) enhancing the ability to monitor emerging risks, (3) becoming more relevant to achieving the organization’s business objectives, (4) reducing overall internal audit function costs without compromising risk coverage, and (5) identifying opportunities for cost savings in our business.[1] The survey respondents also projected that technology will become a more important area of focus for internal auditors.

In a 2013 global study examining the changing roles of internal audit, only 28 percent of respondents replied that internal audit plays a strategic role today. However, 54 percent projected that the primary focus of internal audit in the future would be that of strategic advisor.[2] The changing roles of internal auditors require a broader skillset. Internal auditors will need to increase their competencies in technology, risk management, process improvement, critical thinking, data analytics, verbal communication, business strategy, relationship management, and industry knowledge.

The FAASTrack of the MPPA program is designed to build these skills. Through the use of group case studies, students develop critical-thinking, relationship-management, and verbal-communication skills. Students also learn how to use technology to analyze data, manage projects, and communicate with each other and their professors. The program is developing the internal auditor of tomorrow.

 

[1]The future of internal audit is now: Increasing relevance by turning risk into results article retrieved on Oct. 30, 2013.