Assessing Results of Protiviti’s 2021 Next-Gen Internal Audit Survey
The Next-Generation Internal Audit Journey Needs to Begin Now
A global pandemic caused by a rare airborne virus that continues to affect organizations in different ways around the world … a growing number of stakeholders in organizations with whom internal audit needs to partner … digital transformation and innovation initiatives occurring enterprise-wide and in individual departments and functions … business models and a risk landscape with seemingly shorter cycle times than in years past.
The case can be made that chief audit executives (CAEs) and their teams have more challenges and demands today than at any time in recent memory, as well as opportunities to engage and support the business in new, innovative ways. These developments underscore the need for internal audit functions to adopt next-generation internal audit practices to be more agile and technology-enabled, to have the required skillsets in alignment with these practices, and to achieve a real-time level of engagement with risk management, data and controls. But for most internal audit groups, their next-generation audit journey is just beginning. In fact, the results from Protiviti’s 2021 Next-Generation Internal Audit Survey reveal relatively low maturity levels in different areas of governance, methodology and enabling technology.
But what perhaps is most telling is the skill and capability levels of organizations and internal audit functions that we classify as “Digital Leaders.” These organizations are reaping the significant benefits of next-generation internal audit practices given their substantially higher reported levels of maturity in these areas.
Our Key Findings:
- Progress remains slow: Next-generation internal audit journeys are just beginning — For CAEs and internal audit leaders as well as other internal audit professionals, self-reported maturity levels are primarily in the midrange, with lower scores related to adoption and use of enabling technologies.
- Digital Leaders stand out — With regard to next-generation internal audit capabilities, there is a clear difference in the skill and maturity levels between Digital Leaders and other organizations.
- Digital maturity remains a rarity, but progress is evident — Most internal audit functions are just getting started on their next-generation journey: A clear majority rank both their organization and internal audit department below the Digital Leader level. Yet a majority have transformation and innovation initiatives underway, which is a positive development.