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Internal audit: Soaring through turbulent times

Global Audit Committee Survey

The inaugural 2020 Audit Committee survey reflects a significant departure from prior surveys and illustrates how Audit Committee wants, needs and expectations of internal audit functions have dramatically evolved in today’s tumultuous business environment.

Deloitte’s global survey report, Internal audit: Soaring through turbulent times, explores what Audit Committees really want, need and expect from their Internal Audit functions.

The report includes the participants input on the critical issues facing their organisations and the role that internal audit should play in addressing them. The profound changes that have upended the world have also broadened the perspectives and spurred new insights from these leaders, which have been captured in this paper.

In order to meet the rising expectations of our evolving world, the following suggestions and areas of interest are laid out in more detail in the report:

  1. The role of internal Audit: There is no longer a debate as to whether internal audit should conduct advisory work. Internal audit must move the needle toward more advisory work. What does the function need to do differently in order to be seen as a problem solver rather than a nuisance and something to be avoided?
  2. Talent: Internal Audit needs to team for success both within and outside the function, to drive progress. Think less about “auditors of the future” and more about “teams of the future.” Augment their teams with complementary, non-traditional skillsets, not just technical skills.
  3. Budget: Internal audit groups with the greatest impact are not necessarily those with biggest budget. Internal Audit budgets aren’t likely to increase so it’s not about doing more with less but doing different with less.
  4. Psychological Safety: Fostering trust and open communications will drive progress and Internal Audit has an active role to play here whether that is helping the second line to improve, working more closely with management or thinking about how the results of IA work can be positioned in a way that encourages control issues to be surfaced and addressed.
  5. Reporting: There is a still considerable room for improvement here. Internal Audit can tailor their output to better inform stakeholders of emerging concerns, before they become critical. The report presents a number of practical ideas to help improve here.

About the survey:

To better understand what audit committees want from Internal Audit functions, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited conducted a survey of more than 60 board members, audit committee chairs and audit committee members representing more than 140 companies from every region and major industry sector. Our outreach included both Fortune 500 companies and smaller organiaations, those with innovative internal audit groups and those with more-traditional functions.

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