The role of the traditional internal audit department is evolving
Over the years there have been a number of formal studies done across the globe that highlight how the role of the traditional internal audit department is evolving. It is not uncommon these days for internal auditors to be involved with fraud detection, risk management or data analytics. With the department’s reach and impact being extended, the findings and outcomes are becoming more important to the strategic direction and decisions made by the organisations stakeholders.
Whilst the use of technology for internal audit may be a mind shift for the more mature internal auditors who are used to manual, labour intensive and often repetitive auditing methods, the younger generation is quickly adjusting to the new way. They see the value of monitoring 100% of a data population in almost real time as a way to increase the level of assurance and coverage. A much greater level than any traditional method would have been able to offer them, and in much less time.
The reality is that with organisational data growing at an alarming rate, implementing a technology solution is the only way for internal audit to be truly successful and efficient. Internal auditors need to be confident that the chosen technology would be able to detect control weaknesses or data exceptions quicker, and easier, than they would ever have been able to do without it.
Bringing new technology into your organisation increases productivity and helps make faster, better decisions but at what cost? Employees need to understand these benefits and not feel threatened by it, but rather see it as an improvement. There are always going to be people who have routines and those who resist change. The best technology in the world isn’t going to save you from reputational damage or revenue loss if things go wrong, so how can you ensure that it is being used effectively. Ensuring that the money spent on the technology is well spent, deriving maximum adoption and ensuring you get value from your investment? Prevent it from failing!
Why could it fail?
- It changes how people do what they do
People are unsure of the unknown and this makes some uneasy. This uneasiness creates resistance and hurdles
- Users were never involved in the decision process
How can you expect someone to get excited about something they were never involved in choosing. When you decide to procure a new technology, involve users as early as possible in the project
- There is no project or technology owner / champion
No one knows who is actually responsible. This person needs to be carefully chosen and have the right mix of people skills, enthusiasm and knowledge of the technology. They should ultimately become the “super user”
- Success isn’t measured
The technology is there and it’s running. Now what? Has it saved money, time, or both? If the results are quantifiable it’s easier for everyone to get excited about the benefits and to push to better the results.