The intensity of the current global economic downturn has left organizations searching for ways to curtail costs, improve efficiencies, maintain customer satisfaction levels, and increase their profits.
This unprecedented economic crisis has been nothing short of an urgent call to action for more robust risk management practices in organizations.
As organizations reinvent customer interactions and modify their business models to digitize products and services, Internal auditors must undertake a continuous journey of transformation along the path of innovation and digital maturity which is essential to maintaining sustained competitiveness.
Keys to remaining relevant
The following are little-known secrets that can steer you to a tremendously successful career as an auditor and this works even if you are a newbie. To become a value-added auditor, it is important to have a POSITIVE mindset and it is also the key to propelling the internal audit team to ambitious new heights. This
acronym is explained below:
P – Proactiveness: Being proactive is the act, trait, or habit of planning for, interfering with, or controlling predicted occurrences, particularly unpleasant or difficult ones.
Internal auditors’ responsibilities often include reviewing an organization’s business processes objectively and providing an unbiased assessment of the procedures’ completeness and adequacy with an emphasis on their effectiveness and efficiency. One of the ways of being proactive as an auditor is providing process improvement initiatives to the units or groups audited, planning, and productively projecting the brand or institution you work for.
O – Optimism: An individual determined to be hopeful and expect good outcomes, should be enthusiastic about seeing things in the positive line and perform a forward-looking, value-based audit.
S – Set goals: Each internal audit team member has individual goals to work toward, and it’s important to align these with the team’s objectives too. Not only is it essential for the internal audit group to ensure that its activities are fully aligned with the expectations of the organization’s leadership, but it is also vital for leaders of the organization to sightsee the internal audit function for support, ensuring assigned tasks are meeting specific quality standards and putting in place some mechanism to ensure discipline.
Goal setting helps to be strategic and gives opportunity for self-review, the auditor must be attentive enough to put all efforts and due care necessary in aiming for a quality audit assignment. It also enables auditors to find solutions to various challenges and in all of these, the auditor should be able to manage stress.
I – Innovation: An auditor should think of new ideas in doing things, developing, and improving on them. Auditors and audit teams should actively seek to learn,
unlearn, relearn, and transform themselves to
keep pace with the velocity of advancement in the
business and the larger economy.
The future of work is digitally changing; this reality should steer the future auditor to acknowledge the need for change, understand the essential capabilities for effecting change and undertake a game plan for getting started.
Innovation as a function embraces an agile, holistic approach that focuses on governance, methodology, and technology while delivering more robust assurance and more valuable insights to the business in an efficient manner.
Fraud detection/investigation, prevention, and monitoring require more data analysis tools and computer-assisted audit tools (CAATs) which are some of the key priorities that need improvement. Auditors should become more data and technology- enabled to provide value-added insights and recommendations.
T – Take the ordinary and make it extraordinary:
Leveraging the knowledge or skills acquired helps to provide internal and external stakeholders with relevant, timely, and impactful results on the effectiveness of risk management and controls. Make each audit task and report more valuable and remarkable by adopting more agile practices, and engaging the business teams more before, during, and after the audit exercises.
I – Influence and Integrity: By definition, “influence” is getting others to act on your suggestions without pulling rank. Influential people can garner support for their submissions, and they recognize that being persuasive requires more than technical expertise and simply having facts to support a perspective. They can communicate their message in as many ways as necessary to the diversity of their audience. Persuasive people leverage their relationships with others and the information they possess to get others to act on corrective action plans and adopt efficiency- boosting recommendations.
Integrity on the other hand is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. An auditor should adhere ethical codes or principles that align with the organization’s objective.
V – Visibility: This is simply being noticeable through your work or your presence, being a person of value and distinctness. It makes you stand out and leaders recognize your efforts in achieving the organization’s strategic, operational, financial, and compliance objectives.
E – Excellence: Delivering excellent service is vital and being efficient in your engagements and communications in a professional manner creates a supportive and result-driven achievement for the organization.
Summing it up
The POSITIVE mindset of an auditor aids the Internal audit’s collaborative approach to successfully create a supportive and results-oriented team that is an essential part of the organization’s success.
Adopting an agile or growth attitude will allow Internal Auditors to stay relevant as trusted advisors. In this digital age, with the right tools, skills, and practices, Internal Auditors will add value to organizations in new and sustainable ways focusing on these three steps – embedding technology, embracing change, and encouraging growth – this is vital to propelling auditors and audit teams to ambitious new heights.
Until next time, audit with the passion to deliver value.