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Internal Audit: More Important Than Ever

Posted on November 15, 2016 11:00 pm;

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By Morgan International Staff Writers

Now is a great time to be an internal auditor, and predictions are that the importance to business of this role is set to increase: salaries are on the rise, and internal auditors with certain specializations are increasingly sought after.

So what’s making this role so in demand? Internal audit has always been a vital function to business, helping to add value through its systematic approach to improving the areas of risk management, control and governance. But in recent years certain global events have given internal audit even greater importance. First there was the financial crisis, which sent shockwaves across the world and saw many businesses with long-established, solid reputations collapse overnight. Later, economies become mired in recession, a period that also saw a number of high profile fraud cases come to light: awareness of fraud risk to businesses became heightened and internal audit was under pressure to minimize this risk through strict controls. Throughout this volatile economic period, tighter regulatory frameworks were brought in with a view to setting businesses on a path with greater oversight and control – once again internal audit was in the hot seat to ensure businesses complied with new rules.

In short, the role of an internal auditor is evolving. And this need to manage risk better is making internal auditors (IAs) more strategic. Twenty-eight percent of executives in a Forbes Insights/EY study from earlier this year said that IAs currently play a strategic role, but more than half said that within the next two years they expect the role of “strategic advisor” to become the IAs’ primary mandate. Experts also predict that by the end of this decade the profession will have evolved further toward an increasing focus on risk management, governance, and technology issues. In the same Forbes Insights/Ey study, three of the top five emerging risks cited by executives related to IT. All this seems to fit with the results of a 2012 survey conducted by the Institute of Internal Auditors, that declared internal auditors specializing in information technology, fraud, and forensics to be particularly in demand.

With so much pressure to perform, businesses naturally look to internal auditors with the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation as a reflection of competence in the principles and practices of internal auditing. Sponsored by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the CIA serves as the only internationally accepted designation for internal auditors worldwide. According to the IIA, the CIA is enduring because it requires candidates to master the ability to identify risks, examine alternative remedies, and prescribe the best initiatives to control these risks. In the words of John J. Fernandes, CIA, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Institute of Internal Auditors: “CIAs master auditing standards and practices as well as management principles and controls, information technology, and emerging strategies to improve business and government.”

Do you want to get certified? Find out about Morgan's CIA Exam Preparation here.

 

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