Five Internal Auditing Myths Debunked For International Internal Audit Awareness Month

May 2022 is International Internal Audit Awareness Month which was founded by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) in the 1990s to raise awareness about the “most unheralded, yet vital, work year-round” that IAs do.

The IIA itself is a leading global international audit advocacy and membership body, whose remit covers everything from providing resources, seminars and training to a global IA workforce, to enrolling IA professionals in industry-leading certification programmes and setting global IA standards of IA delivery through their Competency and Professional Practices Frameworks.

What the IIA does brilliantly, and what we want to emulate here, is to advocate for this essential arm of the audit profession.

“The IIA’s strategic plan promises to raise the profile of and demand for internal audit and ensure the profession is recognised as an indispensable resource by key stakeholders”.

So in light of Internal Audit Awareness Month, we highlight here and hopefully dispel some of the main myths around internal auditing to help non-audit professionals know more about the profession and how it interacts with companies, people, and communities.

Myth: There is little creativity in internal auditing

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Internal auditors are called on to do a hard job, that much is true. That job can be operationally challenging, “dry” in content (which is subjective), and seemingly “behind the scenes”. However, as Workiva states, IAs are increasingly using brand power and social media to better communicate what they do and its centrality to business operations.

  • “For instance, a team I used to work on rebranded from “Internal Audit” to “Risk Advisory and Assurance.” It helped answer questions about what we do and provided clarity to the types of services we provided”.

If internal audits are seen to be working in the shadows, the time is now to dispel those rumours of bean-counting and step into the fore!

Myth: IAs are the business police

Stinnett Associates describes how they go about amending this viewpoint perfectly, by urging internal auditors to focus on “process improvement” as the real essence and philosophy of the role, rather than letting stakeholders confer amongst themselves that IAs are only in it to stifle business, innovation, creative thought or operational independence.

Owning this new narrative is super important: IAs are integral to business success, and vital elements in non-auditors doing even better in their roles thanks to IA’s fastidious attention to regulatory and ethical performance.

Myth: Aren’t internal auditors just accountants by another name?

While accounting provides some critical skills needed to be a successful internal auditor, the industry draws from a wide range of backgrounds and skills, from tech and IT to engineering.

The real skills needed – diligence, a high regard for quality services, fastidiousness, great communication and creative thinking – means that people from a wide variety of backgrounds with training can enjoy a career in internal audit.

Myth: Internal audits are the same as external audits

No, they are not the same. While some parts of the day-to-day job of an internal and external auditor are parallel – both evaluate controls, report to seniors, and work with audit programmes – the outcomes and flexibility of internal auditing drastically differs.

As Moss Adams in their presentation titled Busting the Myths Surrounding Internal Audit states, “(IA) focuses on future events by evaluating controls to help the organisation accomplish its goals and objectives” rather than just meeting “materiality thresholds”.

By offering a service more “broad in scope” than external auditors, IAs provide direct, measurable business outcomes and improvements.

Myth: Internal audit is a lonely job

While “independence” of an IA’s role is a prerequisite, the truth of the matter is internal auditors straddle every department in an enterprise.

As mentioned above, the job is focused entirely on improvements, working closely with internal controls (which is a separate but often conflated field) to mitigate fraud and perfect business outcomes. This means that IA professionals get to work with their own team and every department in a company.

If you’re looking for your next internal auditor job role, Send Us Your CV, or Search Jobs to find out about the roles we currently have available.

Similar posts:

How Can Internal Auditors Successfully Work From Home During Covid-19, How Does Internal Audit Help Augment ESG?, Why Auditor Independence Matters

Photo by Gary Meulemans on Unsplash

14-04-2022

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