Explores internal audit's response to COVID-19 disruptions.
COVID-19 creating unique demands, opportunities
Internal auditors must think ahead to stay relevant, but few can say they ever prepared for a prolonged slowdown in operations such as the world is experiencing today. The COVID-19 pandemic presents the most rigorous test of business continuity imaginable — a massive economic disruption by a terrifying disease in a world that has become significantly more intertwined. Internal auditors must weigh how the pandemic is affecting their organizations, how to help, and how to stay relevant by bringing new value to the table.
The IIA talked to heads of audit from across the world, including Europe, the United States, Africa, South America, India, Australia, the Middle East, and Malaysia, and discovered they are bringing value in a variety of ways. While some face crises within their own teams, they are shifting focus to new ways to help their organizations come out stronger on the other end. These disruptive changes to work patterns are unlikely to be temporary, and they are placing new demands on many of the competencies internal auditors strive to excel at: being nimble, auditing remotely, analyzing data, monitoring cyber controls, and managing crises, to name a few.
As organizations make heavy demands on internal auditors to help them deal with the many issues that arise as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, internal auditors must keep up. They may also get pulled into new roles that may test their independence.
Yet, working closer to the frontline doesn’t mean sacrificing internal audit principles. Far from it. Maintaining independence in terms of accountability and reporting, maintaining an objective mindset — these essential attributes can be preserved while still adding maximum value. Far from getting out of the way, internal audit should be in the thick of it.