Achieving Internal Audit Relevance with Protiviti
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⇨ Protiviti recently released the results of its 2023 Next-Generation Internal Audit Survey.
⇨ To achieve relevance, audit teams should embrace new technologies and maintain a diverse audit team.
⇨ Audit teams should position themselves as independent and objective advisors on future projects.
Internal audit teams play an essential role in the larger GRC functions of a business. By minimizing risk, creating value, and staying up to date on the latest technological tools, these teams can remain relevant within their organizations.
It is important to note that there is not one single path for internal audit teams to successfully achieve relevance. There are many different options and methodologies these teams can implement to meet the requirements set forth by business leaders.
To help organizations get a sense of some of the ways they can ensure their internal audit team remains relevant, global consulting firm Protiviti recently released the results of its 2023 Next-Generation Internal Audit Survey, its nineteenth annual edition. For the survey, Protiviti defined relevance as “being connected and aligned on what’s important and being insightful and providing value through communications and other forms of information sharing.”
To find out the different paths to relevance, Protiviti spoke with industry leaders like Bayer AG, Hilton, PNC, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and many more. By sourcing information from across different disciplines, regions, and sizes of organizations, this survey was able to provide readers with a full picture of the tools that chief audit executives have at their disposal to remain relevant and add value to their organizations.
There is no one size fits all approach for audits. Each organization will have different challenges based on its unique characteristics. However, Protiviti was able to highlight three common themes that emerged from the survey that should apply to all organizations, regardless of their particular audit landscapes and challenges.
- Embrace New Technology
In the survey findings, Protiviti Managing Director and Global Practice Lead for Internal Audit and Financial Advisory Andrew Struthers-Kennedy wrote “For internal audit functions, elevating their relevance and the value they deliver requires ongoing evolution and a committed focus on continuous improvement through innovation and transformation.”
Protiviti found that successful audit teams leveraged advanced analytics, automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to meet their goals. These new technologies can make audits run more smoothly, increase productivity, and provide business leaders with better information to make crucial decisions.
Audit teams should also ensure that they continually upskill their staff so they are better able to leverage these emerging solutions.
- Maintain Diverse Audit Teams
Equipping audit teams with a diversity of thought and experience allows them to work more creatively and drives innovation. Some teams in the survey broadened the skills of their teams by hiring team members with experience in areas like risk management or even financial crimes.
Some audit teams even relied on members with professional backgrounds outside of the GRC space but in domain areas specific to the business, giving a new perspective that offered fresh insights.
- Be Proactive
To be at their most effective, internal audit teams should be in regular contact with business leaders who proactively seek their input in planning scenarios. Audit teams have a unique role in the business and can offer insights that most others do not have access to.
Audit teams should act as independent and objective advisors on future projects. Not only can they minimize risk, but they can add value to these projects as well.
Protiviti also laid out several key considerations about how audit teams communicate. Internal audit teams should keep these in mind to ensure they are meeting the goals of their organization.
Some of these considerations include whether communications are timely enough. Audit teams should consider whether findings are delivered in a manner that is clear and concise enough to allow decision makers to reduce risk. Audit teams should always ask what they can do to improve the use of data in reporting and communications to ensure appropriate action is taken to reduce risk and provide value.
For more information, you can read the entire Protiviti 2023 Next-Generation Internal Audit Survey here.