One of the reasons that I returned to The IIA was to play a role in advancing the profession on a global basis. There are few professions that have evolved globally as seamlessly as has the internal audit profession. The IIA has been integral to that evolution. The IIA’s International Conference held earlier this month in Johannesburg, South Africa, provided another example of how the profession knows no borders. More than 2,000 internal audit professionals attended from around the world — a turnout considered a huge success in any economic environment, much less the one we’re facing today.
A glance at the conference agenda demonstrates the diversity of our profession. Speakers came from places as far away as Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Canada, South Korea, Kenya, France, India, Ireland, Spain, China, Switzerland, Malaysia, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Belgium. Yes, there are many differences among business environments in which our colleagues practice internal auditing. But there are also many commonalities. Many of the challenges each of us face on a daily basis unite us as a profession as we strive to help our organizations succeed by providing assurance on the effectiveness of internal controls, risk management, and governance. We all work hard to educate and demonstrate to our stakeholders the value of internal auditing and its integral place in governance. And there are numerous ways we are alike as we share the common bond of being a part of the internal audit profession and The IIA.
Another issue most every practitioner is becoming more keenly aware of each passing day is the economy and how it’s affecting our organizations. I know this was a popular topic among discussion circles at the conference, and it remains a vital subject of concern for The IIA. In the past several months, we have been reaching out to the profession to find out exactly how the economy is impacting each of you and the steps you are taking to deal with the repercussions. We started with a survey of U.S.-based internal auditors, along with holding a roundtable discussion among regulators and internal audit executives at Fortune 100 and Fortune 250 companies in the United States. We’ve now expanded these efforts globally and will be publishing the results of survey data from 1,665 practitioners from 57 countries. We hope that by better understanding the challenges you are facing related to the current economic crisis, The IIA can provide relevant and practical guidance that is helpful in your recovery efforts. I will continue to blog on these issues and activities in the coming weeks and months.