“Internal Audit Awareness Month is an important opportunity to educate stakeholders and the public about the vital role internal auditors play in organizations and governments of all sizes,” said Anthony Pugliese, CIA, CPA, CGMA, CITP, president and CEO of The IIA. “Every day, internal auditors work to reduce risk, ensure businesses operate efficiently, provide value to their organizations, and protect stakeholders. You can find us in every industry and sector, from the world’s largest brands to small, family-run businesses. The average person may not realize just how many ways we impact your life, but by the time you get to the office in the morning – or log on to your computer if you’re a remote worker – you’ve probably already interacted with several devices, products or systems that were made safer by the assurance provided by an internal auditor.”
Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to enhance and preserve organizational value. It helps a business accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. Effective internal auditing supports good organizational governance and oversight, which reinforces trust and builds credibility among the institution’s stakeholders.
As business evolves, so too does the role of the internal auditor. In just the last year, internal auditors:
- played a vital role in helping organizations respond to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- began ensuring integrity and compliance with significant infrastructure projects that are part of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act;
- continued helping organizations ensure compliance with emerging regulations related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives and navigate the implications of these increasingly-important measures;
- took on increased importance in helping companies prepare for – and respond to – unprecedented cybersecurity risks.
Internal auditors also have an important responsibility to protect the public interest. The IIA’s International Standards under the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) enhance internal auditors’ ability to provide independent and objective assurance to boards of directors and management, enabling internal auditors to build trust and confidence among internal and external stakeholders, including the public, which is essential to business and society.
To ensure the IIA’s Standards keep up with the changing nature of business and serve the public interest, a Standard-setting in the Public Interest Framework was recently published by an independent IPPF Oversight Council that includes representatives from the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC); National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD); International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI); Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and The World Bank.
“The IPPF Oversight Council examined the IIA’s standard-setting structure and processes,” said Alta Prinsloo, the IPPF Oversight Council Chair. “The Council believes that an internal audit activity aligned with the Standards follows best-in-class procedures to protect the public interest and to achieve the mission of internal audit: to enhance and protect organizational value by providing risk-based and objective advice and insight.”
“The world is changing faster than ever, and internal audit is right there at the heart of it all,” said Pugliese. “With new risks, opportunities and regulations emerging every day, internal auditors have a tremendous opportunity to guide their organizations through historic change. We’re constantly upskilling internal auditors to help meet the needs of rapidly-changing businesses and global circumstances. Internal Audit Awareness Month is about recognizing the ways internal auditors drive companies forward. This month we recognize internal auditors everywhere, and invite the next generation of internal auditors to learn more about this great profession.”