Internal audit functions are under increasing pressure to prove their relevance—a feat which is nearly impossible without the right integrated risk technology in place.

Exceeding great expectations

Internal audit departments have traditionally been viewed as a governance and compliance-driven function meant to ensure that the organization’s risk management, governance and internal control process are operating effectively in order to comply with regulations and standards affecting their businesses.

Board members expectations are being raised for internal auditors to innovate in ways that both protect and transform the business—ultimately meaning compliance is critical.

Integrated risk management technology helps efficiently develop innovative ways to provide better strategy enabling internal auditors to effectively focus their efforts on predicting risk and protecting their organizations.  

Data can be entered, normalized and reviewed in real-time—all in one place. Accurate information and insights are readily available and up-to-date, rather than locked away in emailed spreadsheets with old data that is no longer relevant. Cloud-based and automated systems encourages information sharing across the organization and provides real time data and real-time analytics. Instant visual or graphical depictions of data, cuts down the time-consuming report-building and allows you to improve audit strategies, accelerate audit cycles, reduce audit cost and enhances auditor productivity.

Why internal audit needs to make the shift from checking boxes to innovating

The need to be relevant is often the main driver for internal audit departments trying to shift from compliance-based functions to transformative operations—a concept that is certainly familiar to external auditing firms also vying to be relevant and provide value to their clients.

For auditors, themselves, moving from a compliance-driven role to an innovative role is obviously going to be more professionally satisfying. But businesses, too, reap very real financial rewards from thinking of compliance in a way that is “out of the box” instead of as “checking boxes.”

Read “ROI of Integrated Risk Management” to see how our client, Stanley Steemer, transformed another compliance-driven process to add value to the business.

But what does innovation by way of internal audit departments actually look like? According to the Institute of Internal Auditors, “pulse of the profession” study, it requires internal audit departments to transforms their operations and improve their responses to constantly evolving business disruption. Simplified, it means they must identify and mitigate harmful risks in advance of disruption, as well as realize the upside of risk, so management can make informed decisions to protect and add value to the business.

If this sounds impossible, it’s not…at least for those organizations willing to invest in the right technology. According to PwC’s annual “State of the Internal Audit Profession” study, 56 percent of of internal audit leaders believe technology adoption impacts internal audit’s value to the organization.

The time is now

Since the integrated technology is now available to assist internal auditors in making the shift from box-checkers to proactive innovators, they are realizing how their role in the organization can elevated. This is an important advancement in their careers, which allows senior management to see them as strategic partners in achieving the organization’s overall risk management goals.

The call for internal audit departments to innovate and show their value to their organizations is real and imminent. As tomorrow’s risks become yesterday’s news—faster than any of us can comprehend—it’s critical to deploy the tools necessary to not only keep our departments relevant, but our organizations relevant, too.