December 27, 2020

Top Headlines That Defined Internal Audit in 2020

In a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is hard to imagine much else of significance cracking my annual blog post on the biggest internal audit headlines for the year. While it is true that the deadly virus and its impact on business, society, and internal audit operations dominated our lives in 2020, other events also influenced the profession.

So, here are the top seven headlines that I believe defined internal audit in 2020.

Global Pandemic Reshapes the Risk Landscape

There have been few events in my career and lifetime that have had such a profound impact as COVID-19. I’m certain most others would say the same.…

December 20, 2020

10 Internal Audit Thought Leaders of 2020

This time last year, I shared my personal views on the “10 Internal Audit Thought Leaders of the Decade.” I honestly wasn’t prepared for the tremendous reaction, and I quickly realized that I am not the only internal auditor who is looking for new sources of insight and advice on our profession.

As we near the end of an extraordinary year, I couldn’t help but reflect on which thought leaders I believe have contributed immeasurably to the advancement of our profession over the past 12 months.

As I started compiling this year’s list, I reached out via social media for ideas.…

December 13, 2020

What My 10 Most-read Blog Posts of 2020 Say About Internal Auditors

This year, my weekly blog has received more than 300,000 views from internal auditors and other professionals from around the world. Each year since 2016, I have dedicated time to examining the most-popular blog post for clues about internal audit priorities over the past year. It should come as no surprise that 2020’s list is dominated by content related to COVID-19. The pandemic has been the driving force behind world-altering changes, from reshaping business models and redefining the workplace, to accelerating digital transformation and rewriting the rules of consumerism.

Five of the top 10 posts for “Chambers on the Profession” in 2020 regarded COVID-19’s impact on the internal audit profession.…

November 22, 2020

The Talent Disruption Risk Looming in 2021

As internal auditors put the finishing touches on their risk assessments before preparing their 2021 audit plans, there is one risk that should not be overlooked: talent disruption. While there has been some degree of challenges in organizations’ talent pools for years, I believe a perfect storm is coming that will create more pervasive talent disruption risks in 2021 than any time in memory. 

There has been plenty of speculation about how businesses will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, including short- and long-term changes to managing talent. While no amount of speculation or crystal-ball gazing can provide definitive answers to how these issues will manifest, one thing is certain: Talented executives and staff are becoming restless and are gazing beyond the confines of their employers for new opportunities.…

November 15, 2020

​Is GE’s Rotational Audit Announcement Good News or Bad?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that General Electric (GE), in an effort to streamline operations, is eliminating its Corporate Audit Staff (CAS) program, a “rigorous multiyear rotation through various divisions that the conglomerate has long used to groom future leaders.” To those of us who have long admired the GE model for internal audit staffing, it was big news. GE’s internal audit function is one of the oldest corporate audit departments in the world, dating back to 1913 — almost 30 years before The IIA was founded. 

I first studied the GE model back in the 1990s, when I was leading a re-engineering initiative of the U.S.…

November 9, 2020

Are We Ready to Move Beyond COVID-19 Risks?

The desperation for normalcy grows daily after more than eight long months battling the insidious COVID-19 virus. This anxious desire for a return to a comfortable routine is reflected in growing public pressure for accelerated vaccine trials and resistance to calls for new lock downs, even as a new wave of the disease threatens many regions of the world.

I have seen this growing impatience, as well, in my recent interactions with internal audit leaders who are ready to refocus their energies on risks beyond crisis management. They are eager to apply lessons learned from the pandemic and move on from the initial response to it.…

November 1, 2020

New IIA Report Yields Valuable Clues on Risks for 2021

All crises eventually provoke some level of introspection, whether personal, organizational, or societal. Certainly, COVID-19 has borne this out. Much has been written about the pandemic’s impact on interpersonal relationships, culture, politics, economies, and technology, as we seek answers to the greatest global challenge of the century. I have shared plenty of perspectives in this blog alone.

This week, The IIA releases an insightful report that provides further perspective on the pandemic and its impacts on organizations. OnRisk 2021: A Guide to Understanding, Aligning, and Optimizing Risk is not intended to be a report on COVID-19’s effects on risk management and governance.…

October 25, 2020

​When Audit Committees Want to “Hear No Evil” From Internal Audit

I have long been fascinated by the dynamics between internal audit and the audit committees to whom it reports. Let me say right up front that I believe the vast majority of audit committees are diligent in their oversight. However, as I first shared in a blog in 2015, there are too many instances where audit committees are populated with members who aren’t as conscientious as they should be in their oversight roles.

In Extraordinary Circumstances, Cynthia Cooper’s riveting account of internal audit’s role in unraveling the financial reporting fraud at WorldCom, she recounts the challenges she had in securing an audience with the company’s audit committee so that she could share the internal audit results.…

October 18, 2020

Suspicious Internal Audit Deaths Demand Answers

There is growing shock and concern over the suspicious deaths of four public-sector internal auditors in Liberia. While their violent deaths remain under investigation and there has been no formal finding of conspiracy or targeting, the losses have sent reverberations across the African nation and alarmed internal audit professionals around the world.

The victims, three from the Liberia Revenue Authority and one who served as head of the nation’s Internal Audit Agency, died in just over a week’s time. Their names should be burned into the consciousness of every member of our profession:

  • Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, director general, Liberia Internal Audit Agency
  • Albert Peters, Liberia Revenue Authority
  • Gifty Lama, Liberia Revenue Authority
  • George F.
October 11, 2020

​Internal Audit: Do Your Part and #BeCyberSmart

Cybersecurity remains one of the top and most vexing risks facing organizations large and small. Even as many in the global community face existential challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ever-evolving risk of cyberattacks continues to find new ways to challenge controls and processes. And it only promises to become even more of a threat.

As we begin National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the United States, internal auditors worldwide should be reminded of the urgency to keep up with changes in this risk area. Cybersecurity touches virtually every aspect of our organizations, from data collection, protection, and privacy to security concerns about the ubiquitous home work environment created by the pandemic.…