Board Expectations On Internal Auditors
Today, the expectations towards internal auditors’ role are changing and expanding towards value adding and strategic conversation. To support the audit committee, internal auditors must have the right skillsets and competencies which are vital to support these growing expectations.
The new and evolve role of an internal auditor requires to provide proactive strategic advice and suggest meaningful business improvements as discussed in the recent IIA Malaysia National Conference 2017.
These are the SHOULD HAVE qualities in internal auditors as mentioned by Nik Hasyudeen, Founder of Inovastra Capital Sdn Bhd:
1. Stay up to date on current issues of the industry and be analytical (think beyond your scope)
Internal auditors have to demonstrate that they understand business issue beyond matters relating to the companies they serve. This means they must understand what is happening in the business landscape, their industries and key stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, competitors, regulators and NGOs. Only with these cumulative knowledge, internal auditors are able to discuss and flag issues from various perspectives and angles.
2. Enhance your communication skills (communicate effectively)
Given that board members consist of people from diverse backgrounds, having the ability to engage them in meaningful ways would be important to gain their trust and respect. Once trust and respect are given, they would be more open to listen to the issues raised and recommendations made by internal auditors. How issues are prioritised and discussed would be amongst the ways to improve engagements.
3. Identify the organization’s risks
Focus on matters which would make them stop and think and don’t waste their time by raising a long list of issues where 90% of them could be resolved quickly by management. Always angels issue from the perspectives of director, especially they risks which they have to deal with if no action is taken on the matters discussed.
He added that another key point was raised by another panelist which was the depth of knowledge and expertise of an internal auditors.
He also mentioned, ‘are the internal auditors able to ‘cross the line’ and do beyond their scope if they are expected to deal with more strategic issues and provide insights and values? He raised a question to the members of the floor which is if the internal auditors are expected to deal with more strategic issues, are they in the position to add more value than the people in the C-suites who are dealing with strategic issues as their day jobs?
Nik Mohd Hasyudeen Yusoff , the founder of Inovastra Capital Sdn Bhd , was invited as a panelist at the 2017 Institute of Internal Auditors Malaysia National Conference