Use of Technology
Investments in advanced analytics, machine learning, AI, process mining, automation, and other uses for data and enabling technology are key drivers of internal audit transformation. These technology tools also play a central role in building the function’s relevance with the board, senior executives and stakeholders throughout the organisation.
Putting Next-Generation Internal Audit applications and tools in place also helps strengthen recruiting and retention efforts. Top audit professionals seek out opportunities to expand their skill sets, especially with regard to their proficiency with advanced technologies.
All of this makes the internal audit function’s use of technology critical to its success and this is an area notably in need of improvement, from a capabilities perspective. CAEs and all other respondents rate the maturity of their capabilities related to Enabling Technology – including advanced analytics, automation, machine learning and AI, and process mining – lower than their Governance and Methodology capabilities. Among the four enabling technology components, CAEs give machine learning and AI the lowest maturity rating, yet this is an area that is among the most-discussed topics in the business community at present, with many internal audit leaders also assessing its impact to their organisations and how emerging solutions in the AI space could be adapted and adopted for internal audit use.
Putting Next-Generation Internal Audit applications and tools in place also helps strengthen recruiting and retention efforts.
What our research reveals
- Stronger capabilities in advanced analytics correlate to an overall higher level of maturity in internal audit functions.
- Among internal audit organisations at the lower end of our Next-Generation Internal Audit maturity scale, the top transformation priority is increasing the use of data and analytics solutions. Conversely, this is not as significant a priority for higher-maturity internal audit groups, which tend to employ the use of data and analytics more frequently and consistently, as well as in a manner that is more integrated throughout the internal audit lifecycle.
Gaps in internal audit talent and technology maturity are closely related. Difficulties in recruiting and retaining people with technology skills are impeding the internal audit function’s ability to innovate and deliver greater value to its stakeholders. Working through these challenges requires creativity, commitment, persistence and widespread support.
Access to talent and technological maturity are closely related. Difficulties recruiting and retaining technology skills appear to be impeding the internal audit function’s ability to implement and optimise the use of advanced tools. Working through these challenges requires creativity, commitment and support from on high. Fortunately, our survey results show there is ample and widespread board and executive-level support for addressing these and other internal audit priorities. We encourage internal audit leaders to engage with their executive and board stakeholders on their use and plans related to data analytics and other enabling technologies.
This means the onus is on CAEs and other internal audit leaders to develop innovative, cost-efficient mechanisms for accessing the talent and skills required to accelerate the maturation of the internal audit function’s Enabling Technology capabilities.
In fulfilling that mandate, CAEs will better position their teams to equip stakeholders with sharper, more germane and more concise insights that are increasingly data-driven and able to be refreshed on a much more frequent – if not real-time or continuous – basis. And that value will, in turn, fortify the internal audit function’s relevance in the eyes of the board, the C-suite and the rest of the business.
Board members and senior-level executives who support acquiring or developing the necessary talent and skills related to Next-Generation Enabling Technology capabilities in the internal audit function
Explore the results of our research
Survey Methodology and Demographics
Protiviti conducted its global 2023 Next-Generation Internal Audit Survey online from November through December 2022. More than 550 internal audit leaders and professionals (n = 573) completed the survey questionnaire, two-thirds of whom reported as a CAE or Audit Director.