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Key findings from the Global Internal Audit Survey 2013

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Volatility, financial instability and the pace of technological change has consumers, investors and regulators demanding greater visibility into what organizations are doing. In this increasingly complex environment, organizations need Internal Audit to take on a broader role.

In May 2013, EY commissioned Forbes Insights to conduct a global survey and Chief Audit Executive (CAE) interviews focused on Internal Audit's shifting mandate within the organization. More than 500 CAEs and audit committee members participated, spanning 20 industries.

Here is what we heard:

  • 36% of respondents currently see their primary mandate as providing assurance in a compliance environment. However, in the next two years, 54% expect their mandate to include providing stakeholders with business insights and serving as a strategic advisor to the organization.
  • Respondents rank economic stability (54%), cyber security (52%), major shifts in technology (48%), strategic transactions in global locations (44%) and regulations around data privacy (39%) as the top five emerging risk areas their organization is tracking.
  • Currently, only 27% of respondents say that they are heavily involved in identifying, assessing and monitoring emerging risks; 54% expect to become heavily involved in the next two years.
  • In the last year, only 28% of respondents have seen their budgets increase; almost 39% expect to see an increase in the next 24 months. Similarly, more than 30% of respondents have seen the size of their audit functions increase in the last year; 37% expect to see an increase in the next 24 months.
  • Although a majority of respondents believe they have strong internal audit skills in-house, there are gaps. Respondents admit current resources are lacking critical skills in the areas of data analytics, business strategy, deep industry experience, risk management, and fraud prevention and detection.

Internal Audit is increasingly being asked to not only provide operational business insights to the organization, but also serve as strategic advisors.

While many are excited to fulfill this broader role, not every Internal Audit function is close to being ready today.

Corporate leaders are demanding that Internal Audit improve visibility across the enterprise and provide strategic insights that can deliver lasting value for the organization.

Internal auditors need to ensure they have the right people, in the right place at the right time to meet these expectations. Otherwise, the business will leave them behind.

There are four areas upon which leading Internal Audit functions need to focus to achieve the changing objectives organizations are expecting of them.

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