Last year, I was asked by a newly established IIA Chapter in the Middle East to write an article, in Arabic, for their magazine.I thought the most pressing and relevant issue in an area like the Middle East would be the existing geopolitical risks.So, I wrote a short article discussing the role internal audit can play in providing assurance that the organization can successfully identify and manage top geopolitical risks!The chapter did not disappoint, it declined to publish the article on the basis it was too political.I was not surprised because I have a firm belief that culture influences everything from the mindset of internal auditors to the quality of the audit.In the case of that specific chapter, it was the culture of fear that influenced their decision.
The article was not political at all! To the contrary, I urged internal auditors to keep a vigilant watch of geopolitical risks free of bias or any political agendas and to maintain the utmost independence at all times. I made it clear that evaluating geopolitical risks will not and should not convert internal auditors to political activists! I called upon internal auditors to evaluate the adequacy of the organization’s disaster recovery and business continuation plans and procedures, in addition to the adequacy of its insurance coverage.
The recent rift in the Gulf is just another example of the importance of geopolitical risks.Internal auditors in the Middle East can hide their heads in the sand and pretend that business is as usual, or do what they are supposed to do in these disruptive and uncertain times!!
These are my thoughts please share yours!