March 2020

March 30, 2020

​Initial Pandemic Responses Didn’t Leverage Internal Audit

In last week’s blog post, I made the case for internal auditors to step up and demonstrate their value ahead of the looming recession. A new Quick Poll by The IIA’s Audit Executive Center (AEC), which looked at how organizations have reacted to COVID-19, provides a decidedly mixed picture of internal audit’s role in the time since the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic.

While most chief audit executives surveyed reported that they are now involved in their organizations’ responses to the coronavirus, 37% said they should have been brought in sooner to discuss the risks and potential responses. Only slightly more — 43% — felt they were involved in a timely manner.…

March 23, 2020

Pandemic and Looming Recession Demand Internal Audit to Step Up

The health crisis spawned by the COVID-19 virus screams out via daily headlines from around the world. No one would deny that the immediate focus must remain on combating and defeating this insidious virus. However, the virus also brings potentially dire economic consequences. 

A survey of economists now places the chances of a U.S. recession at 80 percent, according to Reuters. I fear even that number is too conservative. Regardless of the exact magnitude, no one can dispute that COVID-19 will bring the most significant impact on our economy in more than a decade.

Consider that the U.S. equity markets are on pace to have their worst month since 1931.…

March 15, 2020

2020 Pulse of Internal Audit: There’s Good News and Bad News

The fast-spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought into sharp focus risks on many levels, from employee safety and productivity and supply-chain weaknesses to the extent to which modern economies are globally interdependent. From an internal audit perspective, it offers challenges and opportunities to demonstrate the value that independent assurance can provide to crisis management. 

Unfortunately, the coronavirus has also thrown a spanner into the works for The IIA’s annual General Audit Management (GAM) Conference. As many of you know, we have cancelled the in-person gathering planned this week in Las Vegas, but we also are moving ahead with an enhanced virtual conference streaming live starting Monday.…

March 9, 2020

Coronavirus: Life and Death at the Speed of Risk

The coronavirus outbreak is quickly becoming one of the greatest global risks we have seen in a decade. Its rapid emergence and maturation into an imminent health and economic threat is disrupting businesses and markets, slowing productivity, and generating huge public-health expenditures. The possibility that it could usher in a global recession is real.

Yet, the most astounding aspect of this dynamic global threat is that it was not on anyone’s radar three months ago.

While the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus was unexpected, strains of coronavirus have caused epidemics twice this century: SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012.…

March 2, 2020

In the Face of the Coronavirus, Internal Auditors Must Do More Than Don Masks

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has transformed from a growing medical crisis to also a macroeconomic one in a matter of days. The potential impact of the virus spooked markets around the world as it spread outside of China. Although no one is sure of the ultimate impact, it would be foolhardy for any nation or organization to ignore the rapidly spreading virus itself, or the indirect effect on global activities.

The virus is a vivid example of the emerging risks that I have written and spoken about extensively over the past several years. Some are very difficult to foresee, and their ultimate impact is hard to judge.…