What Is Relevance?

In this survey, we explore the perspectives of internal audit leaders and other practitioners on the topic of relevance. We also evaluate how leading internal audit functions are positioning themselves to deliver against the goal of increasing relevance.

Broadly speaking, being relevant means being connected and aligned on what’s important and being insightful and providing value through communications and other forms of information sharing.

As we see in the survey results, while there are some clear priorities and areas of focus, there is also variability as to where internal audit leaders are focusing their efforts. Pursuing relevance for internal audit functions can take many different forms, some of which include examining:

  • Processes around how vision and strategy are established;
  • How talent is accessed and aligned to tasks;
  • How internal audit works across the organisation to coordinate and align with other risk and assurance functions;
  • How risk assessment processes are reimagined to be more dynamic;
  • The pursuit of agile concepts and more impactful reporting and communications; and
  • The use and integration of data and enabling technologies.

Relevance can be, and necessarily is, defined a little differently depending on organisational context, current capabilities and gaps, mandates from executives and the board, regulatory scrutiny, and more. Herein lies part of the beauty in a focus on relevance – there will be multiple, entirely valid paths to the same overall goal.

"Internal audit must stay relevant and keep pace with changing demands, forces both internal and external to the organisation, as well as evolving expectations of and advancements in the profession, all while delivering on internal audit's core mandate."
Andrew Struthers-Kennedy
Managing Director, Global Leader, Internal Audit and Financial Advisory Practice, Protiviti