The Importance of Internal Audit
There are some things companies looking to streamline their expenditure could probably cut back on; however one would argue that internal audit is not one of them. The internal audit function remains as relevant in today’s market as it ever has, in fact perhaps even more so in light of incoming regulations and directives such as the EU GDPR. The role of internal audit in facilitating proper compliance with relevant laws and regulations, as aforementioned, is what gives a company’s board, key business stakeholders and the senior management the peace of mind to operate their business efficiently and effectively.
Providing pertinent insights into a company’s culture, policies, procedures and important controls regarding internal and external operations, risk mitigation and regulatory compliance; the role of internal audit in securing a business’s compliance also feeds in to effective preparation for any external audits to be carried out. Furthermore, internal audit is a key strategic factor in securing successful client relationships. Limiting, or in fact erasing, the potential for huge fines or data leaks through regular internal audits will only serve to actively secure client trust and thus strengthen that element of your business.
Creating critical opportunities for objective insight into a business’s assets, work and controls, the internal audit function is key in ensuring that the proper monitoring and safeguarding against threats is at work within your enterprise. A more than valuable tool in supporting your company’s risk management processes, the internal audit team spends a portion of their role calculating the potential risks to the business in order to prioritise them following a systematic assessment of their impact on the business.
In a time where risks are evolving to become more complex and multiplying at an alarming rate, due to the rise in cyber-attacks and the precarious inclusion of the Internet of Things within our ever-connected society; the need for those functions which work to safeguard and protect our assets has never been more imperative.
Cybersecurity, emerging technologies and the issues of anti-bribery and anti-corruption are among the top considerations for internal audit currently along with regulatory compliance, data analytics and performance risk. In this way, the internal audit function must continue to strive to challenge the status quo in order to mitigate risk, enhance controls and find ways to lower costs across an organisation, all while seeking to create a more efficient operation in any way possible. Only then can the real value of internal audit be fully recognised. If businesses choose to overlook its worth, they will ultimately pay for that ignorance in more ways than one.