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​2018 Pulse of Internal Audit: A Profession in Transformation

Diversifying talent will be vital to adopting more agile and innovative mindset

LAKE MARY, Fla. USA (Feb. 26, 2018) — Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) need to position internal audit to be an internal disruptor, relentlessly challenging the status quo, according to initial findings of The IIA’s Audit Executive Center 2018 North American Pulse of Internal Audit survey: The Internal Audit Transformation Imperative. The full report, which will be released to the public on March 12, focuses on how talent, agility, innovation and board engagement are vital for transformation.

New risks require new talents. Most CAEs (72 percent) say they have gaps to fill, emphasizing that developing and retaining the right talent is critical to forward-looking transformation of the internal audit profession. This disruption presents internal audit with the challenge of re-envisioning the function’s capabilities to fill an increasingly important role in an organization.

“To position internal audit to bring value to organizations, CAEs need to acquire or develop talent for tomorrow’s risks. Let new or emerging risks drive which resources are sought, operating through a defined talent strategy,” said IIA President and CEO Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA. “Change is inevitable and a necessary component for progress. With a more diversified talent pool in place, efforts to adopt agile mindsets, execute innovative actions, and engage with boards will occur more seamlessly.”

Challenge the industry. CAEs overwhelmingly agree they need to pursue innovation as a more consistent activity. Ninety-one percent report they are a key driver of innovation in their internal audit functions. As such, the report finds CAEs should undergo self-assessments to challenge how objectives are being accomplished as well as embrace technological advances and continually develop and communicate the case for internal audit to actively pursue innovation.

Help boards mature beyond oversight to engagement. Ninety percent of CAEs report they attend all of their organization’s audit committee meetings. This represents an immense opportunity to build relationships that go beyond reporting structure. Pulse results illuminate opportunities for CAEs to become more engaged and increase communication with the audit committee.

The report also warns that CAEs should be realistic — successful pursuit of innovation requires vision, time, effort, and a willingness to replace simple but suboptimal internal audit approaches with more sophisticated, effective methods.

“To be an internal disruptor, CAEs need to break out of their historical frame of reference and be nimble enough to pivot, to refocus, and to reposition internally in order to create a path towards agile internal auditing,” Chambers said. “Decisive moves by CAEs will propel internal audit forward through the transformation required.”

The full 2018 North American Pulse of Internal Audit: The Internal Audit Transformation Imperative can be downloaded from The IIA Audit Executive Center's website beginning March 12. Members of the Audit Executive Center will be given an exclusive presentation of Pulse findings and analysis on March 11, just ahead of The IIA’s General Audit Management (GAM) conference in Las Vegas on March 12-14.

The Audit Executive Center has gathered insight from leaders in the profession through the annual Pulse of Internal Audit survey since 2011. Each survey collects information about established and emerging issues, and other topics of importance to the profession and internal audit management.

About the Audit Executive Center

An exclusive service developed to support Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) in answering the demands of their evolving roles, the Audit Executive Center empowers its members by delivering unparalleled access to a growing Knowledge Center of more than 600 pieces of thought leadership and more than 300 tools, templates, and planning resources; access to the Audit Intelligence Suite to benchmark CAE audit activities, assess internal audit teams, and survey key stakeholders; peer-to-peer knowledge sharing opportunities; CPE-eligible webinars, roundtables, and networking events; E-bulletins, and news publications. For more information, visit