Has your Internal Audit function tested positive for irrelevance?
On a more serious note, can the COVID 19 pandemic weaken internal audit in some organizations? The answer depends on many factors such as:
- The performance of Internal Audit: if you have not proved your value to the organization during this crisis, it is unlikely that your Internal Audit function will emerge from it unscathed.
- The performance of the organization: financial difficulties may lead to cuts in the Internal Audit budget, lay off of auditors, and/or other measures.
- Some fear that management may attempt to use the crisis as an excuse to weaken Internal Audit to serve its agenda or in retaliation for previous actions by Internal Audit! I would like to believe that this scenario will not happen.
- Leave your comfort zone immediately and be agile. At AdapGility Consulting we developed the motto " Be agile, be alive" because these days if your IA function is not agile it means it is paralyzed or dead!
- Work on your mindset (that could be the hardest part). Become flexible and adaptable, it is essential to enable you to transform into agile internal auditing.
- Understand the true meaning and intention of the internal audit independence concept. Don't hide behind it!
- Do not wait for a seat at the table to be offered to you. Invite yourself to the party.
- Keep your eyes, ears, and more importantly your mouth fully open! Real-time communication of what matters is the key to relevance.
- Maintain up to date understanding of the company's objectives and business. This is a cornerstone for auditing what matters and adding value. Keep the conversation going with your stakeholders in these uncertain and unprecedented times.
- Understand what is the stakeholders' perspective of what adding value by IA means to them.
- Take a tablespoon of the "courage syrup" three times a day!
- Put serious efforts in developing your soft and technical skills. Invest in yourself.
- Utilize available technology to its fullest potential.