IIA sees demographics, priorities changing in internal audit


The Institute of Internal Auditors unveiled new research during its annual international conference in Chicago this week pointing to changes in the internal audit profession worldwide.

The report collected feedback from 3,600 internal audit professionals representing 159 international locations and found regional differences within a diverse profession involved in traditional activities such as risk and fraud but also showing the profession branching out into areas such as environmental and social issues, cybersecurity engagements, and other emerging and evolving issues.

The report found that 80% of chief audit executives from Africa and the Middle East are under age 50, while 64% of respondents from Europe under age 30 are female. At a global level, 61% of respondents were men compared to 37% women (and 2% who did not disclose). In some parts of the world, more than 75% of respondents were men, but in North America, the ratio was closer to equal. Survey respondents in 2021 were significantly older than survey respondents in 2015, with those 40 years old or younger dropping 17 percentage points (from 43% to 26%).

Institute of Internal Auditors headquarters in Florida

When chief audit executives were asked to identify the areas where internal audit functions have significant involvement, compliance activities ranked highly at 78%, followed by fraud (57%) and risk assessment (56%). Over half (51%) of the CAEs polled said they spent significant time on information technology and/or cybersecurity. In addition to leading their audit functions, about two-thirds of CAEs said they had responsibility for other areas as well. The most frequently cited were compliance (41%) and fraud (39%). 

The IA also partnered with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to issue new guidance on embedding ESG and sustainability considerations in the IIA’s Three Lines Model. The paper discusses how management and internal audit can build structures and processes that support the achievement of business objectives to create and protect value for an organization.

On Monday, the IIA awarded five Professional Achievement Awards, recognizing recipients from around the world who have excelled in research, education, publishing, advocacy, and other activities in the field of internal auditing and related professions. The Victor Z. Brink Award for Distinguished Service went to W. Charles Johnson, senior manager of Forvis Enterprise Risk Solutions; Doris Yi Hsin Wang, chairman of the Accounting Research and Development Foundation of Taiwan and an accounting professor at National Taipei University. The Bradford Cadmus Memorial Award went to Lal Balkaran, risk, governance and internal audit consultant at LBA Consulting; and Brian Christensen, executive vice president of global managed solutions and collaboration at Protiviti. The William G. Bishop III, CIA, Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Carman L. Lapointe, former under-secretary-general of the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services.

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