Originally developed as a means of
assisting organisations with safeguarding corporate assets and enforcing
corporate policies to preserve value, internal
audit is expanding its traditional role with a new focus on value creation
Accelerating change has characterised the
business landscape for many years and this will continue. New competitors,
technologies and financial instruments, changing cost structure and
regulations, increasingly integrated global economies and other development are
creating new risks and opportunities for organisations to consider.
As these developments progress, it opens a
new door on opportunities for internal audit to regain its historic authority
as an independent advisor to management by supporting top management goals,
monitoring key risks and improving regulatory compliance efforts.
Internationally there has recently been a
shift to focus more on supporting executive management in effective management
of key risks.
The Committee on Internal Audit Guidance
for Financial Services in the United Kingdom has after a year-long consultation
issued its recommendations for effective internal audit
in the financial service sector. Experts have predicted that similar
recommendations will be applicable to South African firms in the near future.
The guidance presents an opportunity and a
welcome push for internal
audit functions to proactively move onto the front foot and increase their
relevance to their respective organisations and the financial services industry
as a whole. In the context of a financial services sector, which globally has
been subject to intense criticism over recent years this is a welcome shift for
Internal audit is therefore starting to
plays a critical role in helping companies successfully manage the change
by providing assurances that with every new process, procedure and initiative,
any significant new risks that emerge are identified, monitored and managed
effectively. This is to ensure that the company is protected on an ongoing
basis and to a level that satisfies management and the board.
The responsibilities of internal
audit are expanding and, consequently, the required skill sets are changing.
Internal auditors must continue to enhance their skills and educate themselves
on new technologies and competencies that will be required in the months and
years to come.
The success of any internal
auditor lies with that person’s commitment to ongoing learning and
capabilities improvement, along with his or her deep understanding of the
organization’s needs and how they can be met through the internal audit
Internal audit is starting to reassert its
involvement in a range of risks that an organization is facing today creating
exciting new challenges for all in this industry. If you are looking for greater
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