Lights, camera, action

The survey was conducted across over 45 territories covering more than 2500 chief audit executive including 70 leading companies from India. We have developed an India territory report that captures results for India and compares them to the global results.

Overview
As companies focus on strategic growth, internal auditors have the opportunity to elevate their roles by aligning their goals with new company priorities. Internal auditors would be wise to expand their reach to encompass a more diverse set of risks and engage stakeholders on the need for support in non-traditional areas. As internal audit functions strive to transition from financial controls oversight to advising on a wide range of strategic, business, and compliance risks, it’s imperative that they establish credibility with organisation leaders by demonstrating their skills and capabilities in these areas.

Key message sections within the report
New growth, new risks
Traditionally, internal audit functions have been reluctant to venture into strategic initiatives , believing strategic risks should remain in the domain of senior management. In our view, and in the opinion of other leading chief audit executives (CAEs), internal audit can play a substantial role in supporting strategic initiatives, without venturing into strategy development or second-guessing strategic decisions. Virtually all strategic initiatives have projects, processes, controls, and metrics to ensure their successful execution. CAE's responded that focus on strategic growth initiatives and programs  would increase by 75% over the next three years.

Ups and downs of emerging technologies
The CAEs were unanimous in saying that the risk lies in the speed in which technological advances are made. Over 90% of CAEs expect to increase audit focus on new information technology systems being introduce in their organisation. Who could have predicted just three years ago the predominance of social media in today’s business world or that an entire IT department could be outsourced to the cloud? Within the realm of technology, the greatest areas of concern for leading internal audit professionals include organisation plans for new or upgrades to existing ERP systems, and the pervasive use of social media, e-mobility devices and cloud computing.

Navigating the regulatory labyrinth
For Indian as well as global respondents, in the next three years, the focus on regulatory compliance  programmes is expected to increase by over 60%.

Sustainability: Attaining the societal goal
Corporate social responsibility and sustainability are growing areas of internal audit interest, with 22% of the Indian respondents and 35% from around the globe, indicating that their audit plans explicitly address these issues. Internal audit should play an important assurance role in the design, implementation, and monitoring of processes and controls around corporate social responsibility and sustain- ability.

Conclusion: Adapt and align
Against the backdrop of heightened governance awareness and growing stakeholder expectations, the right skills are vital in order to respond effectively within this more challenging environment. New and innovative approaches to risk assessment, the use of technology, and cost-effective audit methodologies will continue to be important.