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New Paper: Internal Audit Must Adapt to Technology Risks

Findings from global CBOK survey of practitioners reveal gains and challenges

PHOENIX, Az (Aug. 18, 2015) — From Galileo to Einstein, innate curiosity and a thirst for knowledge have driven advances in all things. The same holds true for the internal audit profession, where a passion for learning is characteristic of all great internal auditors.

In recent years, advances in technology have fed that curiosity and helped push business and the profession further and faster than ever before. A new report from The Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation reflects how internal audit is embracing technology and providing insight for where the profession needs to go and the role in plays in helping organizations keep up with ever-evolving technology and the risks it creates.

Staying a Step Ahead, Internal Audit’s Use of Technology draws from results of the 2015 Global Internal Audit Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) survey of more than 14,000 internal audit practitioners in 166 countries and territories. The survey found that internal audit’s use and understanding of technology continues to grow, but that there remains room for improvement.

“Rapid advances in technology and the business world’s eagerness to embrace the latest developments create vast opportunities and challenges for the internal audit profession,” said IIA President and CEO Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA. “This new report offers an important look at where we are as a profession, our strengths and weaknesses involving technology, and how our skills are adapting and developing.”

The survey shows that nearly 40 percent of audit departments worldwide are embracing technology at what’s considered appropriate or extensive levels. This ranges from a high of 50 percent among North American audit departments to a low of 27 percent in East Asia and the Pacific.

But the CBOK survey also revealed that, despite technology’s overwhelming presence in business, only 1 in 10 of those entering the internal audit profession globally have education in information systems or computer science.

Other areas explored in Staying a Step Ahead, Internal Audit’s Use of Technology include use of specific technology, regional differences, 10-year trends, data mining and data analytics, and increasing technology skills in internal audit departments. The report provides key action steps internal auditors must take to improve their skills and activities related to developments in technology.

Staying a Step Ahead, Internal Audit’s Use of Technology was released at this week’s 2015 Governance, Risk and Control (GRC) Conference in Phoenix. The conference, hosted jointly by The IIA and ISACA, annually brings together hundreds of governance, risk management, control, and business professionals from around the world to expand their network, build knowledge, and hone their skills.

This year’s event features more than 30 sessions split into four tracks on topics including risk mitigation, anti-bribery and corruption, privacy, technology and audit effectiveness, and more.