January 2021

January 31, 2021

I Still Believe Internal Audit Shouldn’t Report to the CFO

​Readers of my blog know there are a few things I have harped on over the years. One of them is what I consider to be the outdated practice of having internal audit report administratively to the chief financial officer (CFO).

For years, The IIA has conducted research on internal audit reporting relationships. The good news is our surveys have found a consistently high percentage of chief audit executives (CAEs) who say they report functionally to the audit committee. In fact, more than 80% of North American CAEs surveyed for The IIA’s upcoming 2021 North American Pulse of Internal Auditreport say they report functionally to the “audit committee, board, or equivalent.”…

January 24, 2021

Using the New Global Risks Report to Be Risk Beacons in Our Organizations

Given the global mission of The IIA, I frequently share global studies that should be of interest to internal auditors around the world. These reports come frequently from organizations such as The World BankOrganization for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentInternational Monetary Fund, and World Economic Forum (WEF).

All of those organizations generate valuable knowledge via thought leadership and other reports. However, in recent years, I have found WEF’s annual Global Risks Report to be particularly valuable. Those who attend my presentations at IIA conferences and other events may recall that I have used more than a decade of risk report data to illustrate the volatility of global risks in the 21st century.…

January 19, 2021

Are Boards Negligent When Internal Audit Heads Are Hired and Fired?

Great internal audit functions are noted for their organizational independence, and the professional men and women who lead them are noted for their objectivity. It’s for these reasons that the establishment of separate functional and administrative reporting lines that foster that independence and impartiality is so critical.

As I first noted in a 2016 blog, I often observe that chief audit executives (CAEs) are less likely to be unduly influenced by management when they have a strong functional reporting relationship to the board or audit committee. Without such a relationship, it is very easy for management to confine the scope of internal audit’s work and to suppress unfavorable results.…

January 13, 2021

From the Epicenter of Corporate Governance, Internal Auditors See Modest Improvement

​A great deal has been written about the impacts of COVID-19 from every imaginable angle, from workplace culture, talent management, and evolving business models, to changing social interactions and even fashion. Much of that writing is based on little more than observation and analysis.

Today, The IIA, in collaboration with the University of Tennessee’s Neel Corporate Governance Center, releases an authoritative examination of the pandemic’s impact on corporate governance that is based on solid survey data.

The American Corporate Governance Index, appropriately titled Making Strides Amid Crisis, finds that corporate governance improved modestly last year, despite the chaotic and challenging atmosphere created by the rapid spread of the deadly virus.…

January 10, 2021

What the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” Report Means for Internal Audit

​Last October, in the shadow of U.S. elections and the ongoing tsunami of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released the third edition of its The Future of Jobs Report 2020. It landed under the radar for most of us, and at 163 pages including country and industry profiles, it’s an exhaustive document that only economists and futurists could truly love. But buried within the report is a treasure trove of information on how the job market is likely to be impacted by COVID-19 and the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution, the digital revolution. There is also an ominous forecast for those of us in the audit profession, but more about that later.…

January 3, 2021

​5 Internal Audit Resolutions for 2021

​My annual blog post offering resolutions for the coming year takes on added significance now that we’ve emerged from a year fraught with emerging risks, disruptions, and uncertainties. It is my sincere desire that we never see another year as turbulent as 2020, and I am certain I join the vast majority of people who were happy to bid it adieu.

Still, we have learned much from the challenges experienced during the pandemic. I would be remiss in not acknowledging that internal auditors in every part of the world contributed mightily to helping their organizations not just survive but even thrive in 2020.…