Internal Auditing

Needs You!

Internal Auditing Needs You! There is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in the internal audit function right now. A new study by Deloitte found that only 13 percent of chief audit executives (CAEs) were very satisfied with the skills of their audit teams. More than half reported being dissatisfied with their team’s skills. But these departments can’t find better candidates, because it’s becoming nearly impossible to find high quality professionals to fill open positions in their internal audit departments, let alone replace the employees they already have.

Part of the problem is the lack of training available for internal auditors. Few universities offer formal academic training in the subject. Instead students are funneled into two categories: general auditing or taxation. The result is a flood of new graduates who are only qualified for that type of work while open positions for internal auditing are left vacant. That’s likely why a 2017 PWC study found that the number one challenge of the internal audit profession right now is finding qualified candidates and managing existing employees.

But it’s not just new graduates that are needed. Some of the hardest positions to fill are those that require between five and ten years of experience. That’s because many internal audit employees put in a few years at an organization and then move on to a new department or new organization.

Some have speculated that this problem is due to a lack of leadership in internal auditing. Not that there aren’t any good leaders in internal audit. Of course there are some amazing CAEs out there. However, there does seem to be some sort of leadership vacuum in the internal audit function. Otherwise there wouldn’t be quite the struggle to retain internal audit employees.

Or maybe the problem isn’t a lack of leadership. It’s a lack of skills. Many leave the internal audit function after a few years. Perhaps this is due to their inability to keep up with the demands required of them. Internal audit is finally starting to be recognized as a crucial part of an organization, and expectations of the function are growing every year. But while expectations and demands of the function increase, little is being done to ensure internal audit employees have the necessary skills to keep up.

The internal audit function needs proper training. More than half of internal audit employees admitted that a lack of expertise and knowledge could keep them from appropriately addressing cyber security risks. That same study showed that more than two-thirds of internal audit employees lack the confidence to make strategic decisions based on data. Both of these issues are easily resolved with training and education.

So how can you be the solution to the internal audit dilemma? By educating yourself in the internal audit function. Take advantage of all the opportunities internal audit has to offer and be a part of the solution. Even non-accounting and financial professionals are needed in internal audit! A PWC report urges organizations to consider individuals with diverse talent that match the organization’s risk areas. All you need is the right training.


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