What Internal Audit does for your Business
In a time where its function has never been more critical to both business strategy and reputational prowess, internally marketing the value-add of internal audit to the rest of the business is something every organisation should consider doing.
At a fundamental level, those working in internal audit operate at a transactional level to prevent fraud, manage emerging risks and create smooth and efficient controls. More than that, a well-run internal audit department acts as a strategic muse to those in charge, with an eye on the wider market to see what competitors and peers are doing and a thorough understanding of the strategic direction of its own organisation, including any blind spots management may have missed. Thus internal audit enables the organisation to see where they must evolve, educate or adapt.
In managing emerging risks and encouraging risk awareness company-wide, arguably the most important job of the internal audit function, they advise on everything from how to optimise the automation of the audit process via continuous auditing or monitoring as per the latest technology, what the cultural risks are when operating in a new country, and in this technological age, understanding both online and social media risks. Internal audit will assess and measure all these risks and unlike the leadership of the organisation, whose chief priority is to increase revenue, the internal audit department are looking at any reputational risk that could render that revenue irrelevant should it penetrate the business.
Further to protecting an organisation’s reputation, internal audit also ensures businesses stay on the right side of their regulating bodies. Internal audit keeps companies accountable, both internally to the rest of the business and externally to key stakeholders, regulators and the public, ensuring trust is maintained; which in the current era of cybersecurity breaches has never been more critical.
What the rest of business can expect to gain from an effective internal audit department should range from training opportunities to advisory input on best practice and everything in between. Aspiring line managers will find a fertile training ground where they’ll be exposed to a plethora of scenarios, activities and functions within the organisation; the quality of business controls will always be under watch from an independent and impartial party; fraudulent activity will be closely monitored and thoroughly examined in order to prevent its reoccurring and in advocating a strong commitment to good conduct, internal audit enables the organisation to mitigate the risk of integrity failure, once again securing trust in the business.
It is in understanding the role and responsibility of internal audit that reinforces to the rest of the business its value and necessity to the success of the business and thus their very survival.