The Institute of IIA in Qatar in cooperation with Qatar University's Scientific Accounting Association concluded the First National Conference on Internal Auditing on a very high note at the Ibn Khaldoon hall at Qatar University.
Under the theme "The Internal Auditor as catalyst for change and wealth creation" the five prominent speakers engaged the attendees in participative sessions on a variety of topics unraveling the areas where Internal Auditors can be a catalyst for change and identifying opportunities of how Internal Auditors can directly contribute to wealth creation within their companies.
The conference was formally opened by HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry after a welcoming address by Prof Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad, president of Qatar University. In his introduction, the Conference Chairman referred to the desire and the need to go further based on the moral of a woodcutter story. Internal Auditors should have the desire to support the organizations by delivering a value for money service in analyzing the root causes and supporting management to address those.
In her welcoming address Prof. Shiekha Abdulla Al Misnad said â€œ the role of accounting is one of the main concerns of Qatar University's strategy. â€œ The University is willing to advance scientific accounting studies, she said.
HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said "The Internal Auditors should be guardians of our corporate life. HE also stressed the government of Qatar being serious about combating fraud". HE called on corporations to review the job of Internal Auditors to improve their effectiveness because this will reduce operational and financial risk and eventually eliminate financial and corporate corruption.
The speakers addressed topics relevant to the theme. In his address on Monitoring Activities and Risk Based Auditing, Dr Sridhar, a partner in Grant Thornton LLP, and Co-Chairman of a research project at IIA Inc warned the delegates about the risk profile of increasing exponentially, but risk coverage not keeping pace.
The following presentation by Dr Rama identified the importance of Information technology audits. He referred to the importance of sufficient controls in Information Technology applications and environment to combat data theft and assure business continuity. Business Continuity should be built into the culture of the organization. Governance and Risk Management is interwoven, he said.
In session two, the emphasis was focused on how the Auditor could be a catalyst for wealth creation. In his address Mr Ganapathi enthralled the participants on what data interrogation tools could be used to prevent and discover fraud in organizations. He identified the smart i-phones as a major risk which no one is concerned about. He is of the opinion that failure of audit leads to fraud and history has shown frauds are detected more by accident than by design.
Mr Saleh Hussain, touched on the current financial crisis and explained how the lack of ethical conduct and mere greed made the financial houses of cards came tumbling down. Auditors should not ignore the blind spots in their organizations. He also warned the delegates of following the herd mentality, but also indicated that the financial crisis also has opportunities in its wings.
Mr. Abdulla Al-Rowais concluded the day with an astounding presentation on value additions the Auditor can bring. He identified three strategies by which Internal Audit can achieve this
1) Best audit professionals strategy
2) Proficeint audit process strategy
3) Leverage technology tool strategy
The two Chairmen of the sessions Mustafa Zacour from Alfardan Group and Ramachandran Narayanan from KPMG conducted the sessions professionally and with zest.
Conference was formally closed by the Conference Chairman, Chris Adonis. In his concluding remarks, he referred to the conference has succeeded in its objective to identify where and how the Internal Auditor can bring about change and ensure future wealth is created for all stakeholders.
The number of delegates were 250.
Two post conference workshops on the psychology of fraud and risk assessments and communication were conducted on 5th April.