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Internal Audit Stakeholder Survey Offers Promising News

Management, boards see role for profession as risk advisor 

Douglas Anderson
Brian Christensen
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (March 4, 2016) — The internal audit profession, long seeking a place at the table with management and the board, is making steady progress toward that critical goal, according to a new stakeholder study.

Having a place as a trusted advisor to the board and management means providing services beyond assurance, and preliminary results from the Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) 2015 Stakeholder Study suggest stakeholders are eager to expand internal audit’s role to encompass risk identification and management.

The CBOK 2015 Stakeholder Study, which is based on more than 1,100 survey respondents and more than 100 one-on-one interviews, provides a global look at how internal audit is viewed by its stakeholders. The Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation (IIARF), Protiviti, and 23 IIA Institutes partnered to create the study, which will provide data for a number of reports by The IIARF this year.

The first report, Relationships and Risk, Insights from Stakeholders in North America, finds that the top three areas where respondents want to expand internal audit scope involve identifying and managing risk.

Of 433 North American stakeholders surveyed, 85 percent want internal audit involved in identifying known and emerging risk areas. A slightly lower, but still significant, 78 percent want internal audit to facilitate and monitor effective risk management practices by operational management. Internal audit’s scope also should include identifying appropriate risk management frameworks, practices, and processes, according to 78 percent of respondents.

The survey also finds that nearly six in 10 (58 percent) stakeholders believe internal audit should be more active in assessing strategic risk. One CEO interviewed in the study noted, “We need to better define how we link internal audit objectives to the achievement of strategic objectives.”

While the news is positive for growing internal audit’s value to the organization, the report also discusses how the function must manage growing and competing demands.

“Internal auditors cannot do everything stakeholders expect of them. There are limited resources, potential conflicts to independence, and overlap with other functions’ responsibilities,” according to the report, authored by The IIA’s Managing Director of CAE Solutions Douglas Anderson, CIA, CRMA.

Anderson and Protiviti’s Executive Vice President for Global Internal Audit Brian Christensen will host a session on the stakeholder study on March 8 at The IIA’s GAM Conference in Dallas, Texas.

About Protiviti Inc.

Protiviti is a global consulting firm that helps companies solve problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, risk and internal audit, and has served more than 60 percent of Fortune 1000® and 35 percent of Fortune Global 500® companies. Protiviti and its independently owned Member Firms serve clients through a network of more than 70 locations in over 20 countries. The firm also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies.

Named one of the 2015 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half (NYSE: RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half is a member of the S&P 500 index..