May is the Internal Audit Awareness Month
Each year the month of May is celebrated globally as the “Internal Audit Awareness Month”. This initiative of the Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA) was started in 1990s and has gained momentum over the decades. This is the month that witnesses enhanced advocacy of the profession of Internal Audit by various Internal Audit Associations world-wide through a series of articles, social media posts, seminars, talks, debates and panel discussions.
This year, thanks to the pandemic, the celebration of the Internal Audit Awareness Month transcended geographic boundaries, as audiences spaced across time zones came together virtually to attend interesting talks and events, spread awareness through social media posts and participated wholeheartedly in different ways. The Internal Audit community united globally as a single profession in this month and projected itself as a force to reckon with.
We, at Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society, jointly with IIA India, hosted an interesting talk on “Internal Audit Lessons from Cricket” that was attended by a large number of professionals. This well-attended, engaging, animated talk, delivered by CA Satish Shenoy, was an excellent ‘pitch’ to communicate not only Internal Audit learnings by drawing parallels with the most popular Indian sport i.e. cricket, but also to project Internal Auditors as versatile, interesting, passionate and agile, ever-evolving with the times. For those who missed this talk or want to listen to this one more time, here’s the link: https://youtu.be/nrSwiiT6WGg
From Stakeholder Awareness to Self-Awareness:
As the month comes to a close, I reflect on my own awareness of what Internal Audit is today. Having been an Internal Auditor for more than 3 decades, can I say that as an Internal Auditor, I am today what I was when I started, or what I was a year back in the pre-pandemic era? Have I spent time in creating self-awareness on what Internal Audit stands for today, what is the journey that the profession has covered and how it has adapted over time? Like the quote at the top of this blog post, Internal Audit has changed and evolved over time and the pace has got accelerated in the past few years, with technology playing a key role. Becoming self-aware about the contemporary state of Internal Audit is as important, if not more so, as creating Internal Audit awareness amongst other stakeholders.
As the month comes to an end, it is time to make a commitment to update ourselves on what is new in our profession, and what is expected of us. This is the time for us to draw up a plan for upskilling ourselves and our teams in terms of new tools, novel techniques, fresh thinking and deeper understanding of the world around us. As remote audits overtake the ‘look and feel’ audits of yester years, as data becomes the new oil, as privacy is traded for free access to tech platforms, as driverless cars get caught in accidents, as a hacker in a remote country threatens the energy supply to households in one of the most developed countries, as the past quarter information starts looking ancient, as currencies floated without the backing of governments and Central Banks become popular, as health passports become a reality…..are we in tune to perform good quality Internal Audits?
I exhort each one of you to spend time in assessing your own readiness and that of your team collectively, and to take strides to bridge the gaps you spot. In a fast-changing world, the gaps may be many, and thus, collaboration becomes the key to ensure that as a team, as a group, we work on covering the distance with speed and a sense of urgency. It is time to loosen our hold on the past and anchor ourselves more firmly in the future, as it unfolds. Being future-ready is the new mantra for everyone, especially for Internal Auditors.
In the eleven months that unfold between now and the beginning of May 2022, we have the most interesting and engaging job at hand – to create the stories that we will take to larger audiences next year, this time.
What are the steps you propose to take to upskill yourself and your team? What are the new areas of audit that are being added to your Internal Audit plan? How are you going to deal with new risks created by hybrid workspace? Is the Management looking up to you as ‘future-ready’ or are you being assigned traditional audit areas of the past?
I welcome your comments and would love to hear the stories that you plan to take to larger audiences next year, when yet another Internal Audit Awareness Month unfolds, in May 2022.
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Internal Audit: A Case for Advocacy