Internal Audit Licensing: Be Careful What You Wish For

Posted on Jan 27, 2014

Numerous vocal internal audit leaders from around the world are promoting the idea of licensing practitioners as a way to enhance the profession’s stature and proficiency. They profess a licensing requirement would give internal auditors greater credibility and even influence. In fact, a few IIA institutes have even taken up the cause within their respective countries. I say, be careful what you wish for.

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Good Internal Audit Leaders Encourage Others to Lead

Posted on Jan 20, 2014

As someone who has been a part of the internal audit profession for almost four decades, I have had the privilege of working with many outstanding leaders in our field. I’ve learned that the best are those who inspire others to lead. In this sense, I would say that a good leader is also a good follower.

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Repairing a Broken Relationship in Your Internal Audit Department

Posted on Jan 13, 2014

Throughout my career, there have been times when I joined a new internal audit function and it quickly became apparent that the chief audit executive (CAE) operated in a very different way than what I was accustomed to. In some cases, the CAE had a different style or preference for communicating with clients. In other cases, the CAE was a stickler on technical issues such as how findings should be communicated, how working papers should be assembled, or which words to ban from audit reports. In most instances, I was simply able to adapt to the CAE’s preferred style or philosophy. After all, the CAE was the boss, and I was obliged to take direction from him or her. (Still, I tried to work subtly to influence his way of thinking or preference on technical issues — never pushing too hard, lest I undermine the relationship and progress I was making.

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Five New Year's Resolutions Every Internal Auditor Should Make for 2014

Posted on Jan 6, 2014

The New Year affords a great opportunity to re-assess your life and identify a few resolutions that can help you break bad habits or enhance your quality of life. Over the years, one of the practices I have followed in writing my blog is to open the year by sharing five New Year’s resolutions that every internal auditor should make. As I noted last year, these are not the typical resolutions about losing weight or exercising more — although some of us could certainly benefit from such resolutions as well. 

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Five Key Headlines From 2013 That Will Shape the Future of Internal Auditing

Posted on Dec 19, 2013

As the year draws to a close, I find myself engaged in the familiar practice of looking back on the year and reflecting upon the major news stories and pivotal moments of 2013 — those that are shaping the internal audit profession and undoubtedly will have a lasting effect on the way internal auditing is practiced in the future. 

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Internal Auditors Should be 'Willing to Throw the Flag' Before the Play

Posted on Dec 11, 2013

In a speech that I delivered last spring, I discussed the various roles that an internal auditor can play across what I called the “ethics continuum.” I noted that on rare occasions, when internal auditors become embroiled in a fraud or conduct, they are an “accomplice.” On other occasions, I noted, the internal auditor isn’t an accomplice. Instead, he or she simply sits on the sidelines and does not call out inefficiency, waste, fraud, or mismanagement. I called these internal auditors the “spectators.”

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2014: Where Will Internal Audit Be Focused?

Posted on Dec 4, 2013

I started this year with a blog post detailing what I thought auditors should be focused on in 2013. As the year draws to a close, I wanted to focus on the year ahead — the outlook for internal auditing and what’s on the radar for chief audit executives (CAEs), as measured by the Audit Executive Center’s recent North American Pulse of the Profession report, “Defining Our Role in a Changing Landscape” (PDF). While I recognize that this survey is somewhat North America-centric, my recent global travels lead me to believe that many of these trends will be observed around the world. 

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When All Defenses Fail: Internal Audit Lessons From the Debacle

Posted on Nov 25, 2013

A lot has been said and written over the past couple of years about the Three Lines of Defense Model — a tool that is often used to illustrate the interrelationship and roles/responsibilities of the board, management, internal oversight functions, and internal audit in ensuring that risks are adequately assessed and effective controls are in place. The IIA published a position paper on the model earlier this year that outlines the roles and responsibilities of each player — with emphasis on internal audit.  

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The Transparency Debate: How Does It Affect Internal Audit?

Posted on Nov 18, 2013

For years, investors, global regulators, the media, and others have been clamoring for greater transparency in the corporate sector. Following the global financial crisis in 2008, the chorus reached a crescendo. It was argued that lack of corporate transparency (particularly in the financial sector) was a direct factor in the crisis, and that failure to ensure greater transparency in the future would doom the global economy to further disasters. While the message was pretty clear a couple of years ago, today the noise around transparency is becoming a bit more muddled. Some still favor greater transparency, and others think the current requirements are already too great.

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To Recruit the Best and Brightest, Internal Audit May Need to "Lighten Up"

Posted on Nov 11, 2013

I often have commented in this blog on how vital talent is to the effectiveness of an internal audit function. Not only is it important for internal audit to have seasoned staff to assess risks and controls, but it is becoming increasingly important to infuse the department with fresh technology skills, analytical thinking, and other competencies that stretch beyond the accounting skills for which auditors traditionally have been known. 

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