So, what should organizations consider to get started with their IA transformation?
- Technology/operating model: Companies could start with technology, its use and impact within the Internal Audit operating model. One key question to ask is this: how can technology better enable the current function, for example, increase the flexibility of the process, replace repetitive tasks, increase coverage or drive insights?
Technology offers numerous opportunities to enhance the entire Internal Audit life cycle from risk assessment and audit planning to execution and reporting. It’s not just about doing manual audits in a more agile fashion. Look for opportunities to leverage analytics, robotics and optical character recognition tools for control testing and continuous monitoring. Explore the use of collaboration tools that provide opportunities to quickly gather information and organize output to enable a continuous risk assessment process. Enhance reporting through digitization. For longer-term or heavier lifts, such as AI and process mining, consider teaming with the business to enhance your business insight but also provide a path to increase your trusted relationships.
- Talent: As people are core to Internal Audit, they are also core to the transformation of the function. It’s important to ask if the skillsets you have now will be the same ones needed in the future. In our increasingly globalized, fast-paced world, it is no longer enough for Internal Audit to consist of a team of people with fixed skillsets sitting together in one office. Organizations need to have a flexible people model where they draw on a diverse and mobile workforce with a broad range of skills. Functions could start with quick actions like expanding hiring sources, implementing a rotational staffing model with the business, partnering with third-party providers for complementary skills and developing tailored learning and experience curriculums to develop soft and technical skills.
It’s not just about doing manual audits in a more agile fashion. Look for opportunities to leverage analytics, robotics and optical character recognition tools for control testing and continuous monitoring.
The definition of the future will continue to evolve as new technologies emerge and many Internal Audit functions begin their journey to get ahead of the disruption and maintain trust within their organization. No two transformations will be the same, and now, more than ever, organizational alignment should be at the heart of each decision.
To continue maintaining a culture of trust in their companies, now is the time for Internal Audit functions to start the process of designing their own disruption.
Explore more about Internal Audit transformation here.
Internal Audit will need to have a much bigger advisory role in the future to sustain stakeholder trust in organizations. It will need to provide broader insights on all risks that an organization faces, including downside risks, upside risks and outside risks.