For more than 20 years, I have been cautioning chief audit executives (CAEs) to always be attuned to signals from their stakeholders, whose expectations can vary dramatically from one organization to the next. Every CAE must continuously review current and potential stakeholder groups and reassess their needs.
As swiftly as expectations can change based on risks to the organization, there are also telltale signs that internal auditors may not be getting the full picture. I have learned that there are signs — some big and some small — that stakeholders may be unimpressed or even unhappy with the leadership of the CAE and the value provided by internal audit.
I first offered my top 10 signs that stakeholders may be unhappy with internal audit in my very first blog, in 2009. I continued to share my view on stakeholder perspectives, most recently in my latest book, The Speed of Risk: Lessons Learned on the Audit Trail, 2nd Edition, published in 2019.
I believe that waning support for internal audit is an inherent risk we face as internal audit leaders. For that reason, here is an updated list of “10 Signs Trouble May Be Brewing for the CAE and Internal Audit.”
I updated my list by asking recent CAEs for further insight and examples. Their input was eye-opening. I am sure there are countless other signs pointing to a loss of stakeholder confidence in, or support of, internal audit. I welcome you to share them.