I have been following discussions on whether internal auditors add value to their organizations, and whether the “value-adding” factor is an objective of internal audit.
To start with, I believe we need a clear definition of the term “add value” when it comes to internal auditors. Does it mean saving money? Or providing a service that goes beyond the expected standard? Or something else?
I strongly agree with the argument that the main objective of the internal audit is to provide assurance. If internal auditors can add value while satisfactorily achieving this objective, it would be great. Any added value activities should not impair internal audit independence and objectivity.
My concern is that internal auditors may try to convince themselves that they are consultants first and auditors second. This is a dangerous path. Ask anyone from Arthur Andersen, myself included, and if they are honest they will tell you that the beginning of the end of the firm started when partners and managers were converted to salesmen to sell consulting jobs!!