Voice of the Customer
Internal audit has a unique and critical role to fill in organizational governance. In fulfilling this role, internal auditors work with a wide variety of stakeholders in their organizations. The focus of this report is on board members and members of the executive team of organizations that have internal audit functions. While there are other types of stakeholders, these are the ones that most directly affect the work of internal audit.
The stakeholder study was not designed to measure whether there is a gap between what stakeholders expect from internal audit and whether these expectations are being met. Rather, it focused on the recommendations from stakeholders on the best practices internal auditors should consider in their quest to continually improve performance and bring value to their organizations.
The stakeholders’ key messages to internal auditors are:
- Know your organization’s mission, strategy, objectives, and risks. Effectiveness of internal audit continually comes back around to this foundation.
- Assurance work is highly valued. While other tasks and projects performed by internal auditors may be value adding, they should not be done at the expense of assurance work.
- Conformance with The IIA’s International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing is expected.
- Assurance work is most valuable when it is aligned with the strategic risks of the organization. Use the organization’s strategy to drive risk assessment and the selection of assurance work.
- Advisory work is highly desired, with areas related to risk requested most frequently.
- Coordinate with functions in the second line of defense. Rely on their assurance work once they have been proven to be objective and reliable.
- Internal audit must be structured properly in the organization.
- Build relationships with management and board members. Relationships must be based on mutual trust and respect.
- Communicate your observations and opinions frequently. Do not rely solely on written communication, but have frequent face-to-face meetings and discussions.