There is a common consensus that Internal Auditors need to be ready and relevant to succeed and thrive in the current disruptive times and to be ready for what comes next in the highly unpredictable future. Last August, I wrote a post entitled " Has Your Internal Audit Function Tested Positive For The Irrelevance Virus" in which I offered internal auditors some basic suggestions on how to get vaccinated against the irrelevance virus including:
- working on their mindset
- keeping an up-to-date understanding of the company's objectives and business
- understanding the stakeholders perspective on value internal audit can add
- transforming to agile auditing
- understanding the true essence of the internal audit independence concept
- communicating what matters in real-time
- utilization of available technology to its fullest potential
- taking a tablespoon of the "courage syrup" three times a day!
You can read the full post by clicking on the link above.
Recently, I have attended a webinar sponsored by Workivia. The webinar took the form of a live discussion with Tim Berichon the author of the book " Ready and Relevant - Prepare to Audit What Matters Most ". While I have not read the book yet, I thought the discussion with Tim offered a good summary of his thoughts. The key takeaways from the webinar, at least as I understood it, are as follows:
- Stakeholders want to see internal audit become relevant and they now see how internal audit can perform
- Internal audit leaders have stepped up and taken their independence hat off and not allowed that to be a barrier or stopping them from being most relevant
- Relevance is about survival at the internal audit level and the business level
- The top barrier to agility and innovation was the internal audit team's resistance to change. Internal auditors need to look in the mirror and ensure they have the right mindset and the commitment to that mindset
- Get in the middle of the ERM fan! Internal audit leaders can own the risk management programs
- Automate everything you can. Free up internal auditors, they can not add value unless they can use their brains
- Automation can not replace soft skills yet
- Artificial Intelligence as it starts to be more affordable may creep into the internal auditors' world in the future
- Tell your stockholders something they do not know, If you tell them what they know, you are irrelevant.
- Internal audit will never be irrelevant if it helps management meet its objectives
- Drop the word added from the phrase"value-added".Everything internal audit does should be a value, it does not need to be added to anything
- Set aside a certain percentage of internal audit time for management request and flexibility
I encourage you to watch the entire webinar, it is available on-demand and can be accessed by clicking on the title of the webinar as shown above.
After reading the above, do you think you know what being "ready and relevant" really means? How do you define it and communicate it to your stakeholders? What do you do to achieve the "ready and relevant goal? Let's start a dialogue and share experiences.