Next Generation of Internal Audit- a Middle East Perspective

In recent years, mammoth waves of disruption have both buffeted and ignited organisations in their drive to change and stay relevant. Not surprisingly, internal audit functions are also seeing the effects. It is now time for internal audit leaders and their teams to take the initiative and stand up and ride their own wave of transformation and innovation.

Becoming a next-generation internal audit function shares more than a few similarities with big-wave surfing. Both require overcoming trepidation and committing completely. There are also different forms of knowledge to acquire, unfamiliar challenges to navigate, and new skills and competencies to develop.

The results of our latest Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey show that most internal audit functions need to quickly improve their acquisition and development of next generation auditing skills.

The global survey had a sizeable participation from the Middle East region where the participants were asked to assess their skills and competency by responding to questions concerning nearly 200 topic areas.

What you need to know

  • Among the three next-generation competencies, the Governance competencies rank the highest when compared with Methodology and Enabling Technology
  • In what should represent a red flag for CAEs, enabling technology skills and tools, received some of the lowest competency level self-assessments in the entire survey
  • More than 50% of internal audit organisations are currently undertaking transformation or innovation activities with 64% planning to undertake within the next one to two years
  • Comparatively higher percentage of respondents describe the maturity of their internal audit transformation or innovation activities in positive terms
  • Majority of the respondents (56%) stated that Audit departments are currently undertaking transformation or innovation initiatives
  • 59% of the respondents were of the view that Internal audit departments are not currently hosting activities that foster transformation initiatives (for example RPA development, innovation challenges)
  • Audit committees are showing more interest in internal audit innovation and transformation activities as internal audit groups advance these activities to more mature levels
  • Respondents believed that the level of information shared by the internal audit functions with the audit committee is at a medium or high level