December 15, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2011: What Does It Hold for Internal Auditing?

It is that time of year again when bloggers have to choose whether to look back or look ahead. Looking back is much less risky. After all, analyzing the past is much easier than picking the future. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no point in giving you my views on what has happened. In short, it has been a much more encouraging year than the previous two years for both the glob​​al economy and our profession. Still, the question on everyone’s mind is whether 2011 will build on the progress of 2010, and at what pace. For what it’s worth, I’m prepared to go out on the limb and offer my predictions.…

October 29, 2010

ISACA and The IIA Sign MOU

In September, we announced the results of a meeting held at the ISACA International Headquarters office between the senior management staff of ISACA and The IIA. It was a valuable opportunity for the two organizations to reflect on the challenges and opportunities we face in serving our similar constituencies. We did more than just talk, however; we laid the groundwork for a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) between us, which has now been signed and is in effect.

The MOU creates a basis for cooperation and collaboration between ISACA and The IIA for the advancement of the global internal auditing profession through the mutual sharing of knowledge, experience and best practice, thus allowing the associations to benefit from each other’s respective work and involvement.…

October 22, 2010

On the Profession in Europe

As you may have noted, my blog has been silent for the past two weeks. This is not because I didn’t have anything to say. Instead, I have been making my way across Europe visiting with a number of our key institutes here. As I wrap up my visit with IFACI (IIA-France), I am pleased to report that across Europe, the profession is showing strong signs of recovery from the global financial crisis.

My travels began with a visit with leaders of the newly “Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors” of the U.K. and Ireland. The institute was officially chartered on October 1, 2010.…

September 27, 2010

With the Recession Officially “Over” – How Has Internal Auditing Fared?

I am sure you were as relieved as I was to learn the recession in the Un​ited States officially ended in June 2009. If we had only known, we could have all rested so much easier for the past 15 months. I am being facetious, of course. As an old student (and teacher) of macroeconomics theory, I realize that the technical end of a recession can take a while to become obvious. However, the official declaration of the “end” of the recession presents a perfect opportunity to review exactly how extensive the impact has been on the profession in this country.…

September 8, 2010

ISACA and The IIA: Sharing Ideas, Setting Plans

Today, ISACA and The IIA saw the culmination of a meeting long in the planning. The three-hour meeting, hosted by ISACA at its International Headquarters office, was a unique opportunity for ISACA’s and T​he IIA’s senior management staff to sit around the table and talk about shared challenges and opportunities. Given the similar — but not same — nature of ISACA’s and The IIA’s professional areas, it is not surprising that the organizations have faced many of the same situations over the past several years.

The free-flowing discussion covered a wide variety of topics: IT, website, and operational issues; the strongly felt obligation to provide constituents educational events that will enable them to perform their professional roles more capably; enhanced communication with the professional community and with each other; and the firm commitment to working together for the benefit of those the associations serve — most especially the members, many of whom belong to both organizations.…

August 11, 2010

Effective Communications: An Enduring Challenge for Internal Auditors

As internal audit professionals, we​​ are often recognized for many outstanding characteristics and skills that we bring to bear in executing our important role. We are lauded for independent organizatio​nal structures, personal objectivity, risk management and business acumen, and analytical skills. However, there is one attribute for which we are rarely praised: our ability to communicate effectively.

As with most professional characteristics, the gap in an ability to communicate effectively often starts at the top — in our case with chief audit executives (CAEs). I recently delivered a presentation on the attributes of highly success​​​ful CAEs in which I identified “dynamic communication skills” as one of the seven attributes.…

July 26, 2010

Beyond Bean Counting

The recent white paper I co-authored on the attributes of highly s​uccessful chief​ audit executives identified seven traits that are frequently observed in those who are the most effective leaders of internal audit organizations. One of the traits we discussed was “superior business acumen.” Based on questions I have received in the wake of presentations on the topic, I thought it might be useful to explore this topic further.

One of the complaints I hear from management far too often is that “internal auditors don’t understand the business.” As we have shifted our emphasis away from an exclusive focus on financial controls over the past two years, I am hearing the complaint more frequently.…

June 22, 2010

Summer Is When Things Really Get Started

Wow! It’s hard to believe it has be​en almost a month since I ​​have had a chance to blog. Believe me, it has not been because of an early vacation. On the contrary, summers (here in the northern hemisphere) are often the most hectic time at T​he IIA.

The International Conference in Atlanta (June 6-9) was an unqualified success. More than 2,600 professionals from 100 countries around the world gathered for three days of networking and professional development. In addition to outstanding keynote speakers, participants had the opportunity to choose from multiple tracks keyed to the most pressing issues facing the profession in 2010.…

May 24, 2010

When Past Meets Present

In my role as President and CEO of The IIA, I am always mindful that we stand on the shoulders of many great leaders who came before us. The Institute was founded by a group of visiona​ry internal audit professionals almost 70 years ago, and it has never looked back. Today we embrace almost 170,000 members globally in 165 c​ountries.

I recently had the opportunity to visit here at IIA Headquarters with Duane Wilson, who we believe to be our most senior living past chairman. He was the Chairman of the Board of The IIA in 1969-1970. To offer some perspective on how long ago that was, most of our current members were probably not yet born.…

May 11, 2010

How Far Should We Go to Ensure Independence and Objectivity?

I am not sure if it is my imagination, but the topic of internal auditor independence seems to be picking up steam — especially outside of North America. In the past week, I have commented on the topic twice​ in my blog (“Don’t Confuse I​ndependence With Objectivity,” and “What Would It Take to M​ake You More Assertive?“).

Lately each time I think I’ve heard a pretty radical idea put forward for enhancing internal audit independence, someone comes along and tops it. I am still attending the Asian Confederation of Institutes of Internal Auditors (ACIIA) Conference in Sydney, Australia.…