High-impact reporting, which the survey results reveal is the most valuable driver of internal audit relevance, requires strong enabling technology as well as the right talent.
Internal audit functions face a continuing talent crunch and ongoing demands to support the organisation’s transformation efforts in response to external events and evolving business strategies and priorities. Amid these challenges, chief audit executives (CAEs) are focused on enhancing internal audit’s relevance with the board, senior executives and other stakeholders.
For internal audit functions, elevating their relevance and the value they deliver requires ongoing evolution and a committed focus on continuous improvement through innovation and transformation. The results of Protiviti’s 2023 Next-Generation Internal Audit Survey reveal that when it comes to these objectives, many are pursuing them by focusing on access to required talent – filling the technology skills gap is an acute need – and advancing internal audit’s technology enablement, the maturity of which continues to lag other Next-Generation Internal Audit capabilities (a trend we have seen in prior years of our study). They also are focusing on producing and delivering highly impactful communications, including through the reporting process.
High-impact reporting, which the survey results reveal is the most valuable driver of internal audit relevance, requires strong enabling technology as well as the right talent. We have observed that Next-Generation Internal Audit components related to technology and talent are often interrelated and self-reinforcing. Functions that are more active in their pursuit and use of data and technology, as well as innovation more broadly, tend to be more successful in attracting and retaining talent, and their resources tend to have more aptitude in and enthusiasm toward enabling tech and other next-gen capabilities. This combination is what tends to propel leading functions toward the goals of increased relevance and value.
Considering that the future of work – including access to talent along with the need to upskill and reskill teams – represents not only a pressing 2023 issue but one organisations must confront and manage over the next decade, assessments offered by CAEs and internal audit leaders regarding access to talent, sourcing strategies and executive/board-level support of these efforts reveal promising news. Board and executive-level support of internal audit’s talent acquisition and development activities is robust. With executive and board-level support in place, the onus is on internal audit leaders to define, communicate and execute against talent sourcing strategies that will give them access to skills and experiences needed for the near term and what is coming next.
Top transformation priorities for CAEs and Audit Directors
- Evolving how the internal audit function coordinates and aligns with other assurance functions
- Internal audit strategy that is better defined and aligned to the overall organisation
- Increasing use of data and analytics solutions
Most significant barrier to increased focus on innovation and transformation
- Competing priorities/lack of capacity