Evolution starts now (summary eConference)


Wednesday 9 September we held our second eConference with international speakers from around the world: Amsterdam, Berlin, London, San Francisco, and South Africa. Jantien Heimel, Chairman of IIA Netherlands, and Leen Paape, Chairman Nyenrode Corporate Governance Institute, hosted this event. The participants learned more about how we can increase the pace of innovation and what the skills of the internal auditor of the future look like. Of course, COVID-19 speeded up things a lot. 

In this article, you'll find a summary of the presentations and some of the powerpoints shared at the eConference. We will update it soon with more presentations. 

Dominique Vincenti, Chief Audit Executive at Uber, gives the participants an insight in how the IAF works at a fast-growing tech company as Uber (from zero dollars to 10 billion dollars in 5 years) and how COVID-19 speeded up things even more. “This past few months hopefully gave every IA leader even more opportunities to define what it will mean to add value tomorrow, what it will mean to be the only objective governance partner and the preferred trusted advisor on effective and efficient governance. If you feel uncomfortable about any of the two statements then I encourage the IA leaders to do some profound soul searching. It may be time to reset the clock and conduct a full-fleshed Vision, Mission, Strategy, and strategic planning effort with your team and stakeholder.”

De-Risk by Design

In the spirit of continually reinventing themselves and being relevant at Uber the IA team is focused on 2 self-initiated projects. One of them is the transition to becoming a Data Science and tech-driven IA. The other initiative is called ‘de-risk by Design’ where the IA team is helping management to rethink risk management by taking care of a vast array of risks in the actual engineering of products before they are released, ultimately having Uber achieve higher reliability and trust at the lower cost possible.

Download the Reimagining Resilience PowerPoint


Larry Herzog Butler, CAE at Delivery Heroes (Thuisbezorgd.nl) sees similarities between Uber and Delivery Hero. Both are fast-growing tech companies. When Larry started at the second line at this start-up there was no IAF. Now Delivery Hero is one of the largest companies in Germany and the IAF has 10 employees. Larry is proud to have ‘the next breed of internal auditors’ in his team: persons who are comfortable with large data sets and who understand coding language. “At Delivery Heroes we have the data, it is here. Data is the heart of everything. We used to say audit should never sleep, but with all the data we can say ‘we audit in our sleep’. His motto: “make everything you do amazing.”


Awesome targets

While start-ups Uber and Delivery Hero are nearly a decade old, insurance company RSA exists for 310 years. Dave Howell, Chief Auditor, GCC, UK & International, starts off with telling there are mainframes at RSA which are older than him. He knew at RSA they needed to change, because - he quotes - ‘in the end, IA will be judged by the things it misses’. “We needed to stay one step ahead of the management and shift from hindsight to foresight. We must stay relevant, we are here to help to improve. How to stay ahead? Grow your team, keep improving their capabilities. “We don’t have KPI’s, we have awesome targets!”

Speaking about the next breed internal auditor and growing your team, Ayhan Yavuz, Senior IT Audit Manager within Group Audit ABN AMRO, takes the participants on a journey in the cloud. He briefly explains what cloud computing is and what kind of service models there are. They shift from doing everything in your own control to completely outsourcing.  “For many organizations, the adoption of public cloud computing will be necessary in order to survive but it will require a suitable control framework. Internal audit will play an important role to assess that control framework but also the relevant controls at the Cloud Service Provider.” However, Ayhan also notices the lack of knowledge will play an important factor. Hopefully, this presentation gave some insight and raised awareness of the need to learn more and catch up quickly. 

Download the Cloud Computing PowerPoint

In the break-outs, the participants discussed in small groups about topics as working remotely and connectivity. One of the participants mentioned that connectivity is sometimes hard while working remotely. However, he believes that past-COVID we will still be working remotely. Another participant said it is harder to read body language while working remotely. She says ‘” Beware for an audit to become a technical exercise.” 


Invest in ethical business culture

Ian Peters, former Chief Executive of the UK and Ireland IIA and now Director of the Institute of Business Ethics, mainly drops a lot of questions on the audience to raise awareness. “All organizations have been affected by Covid-19, some are winners and some are losers. COVID has accelerated existing business trends. Businesses with a clearly defined purpose based on ethical values have been better placed to cope with the pandemic. Different responses to the pandemic have enhanced or damaged reputations. Businesses that did best had a firm foundation of trust with stakeholders.” The ’new normal’ requires businesses and their boards to ask themselves some questions: what is the impact of homeworking, what is the effect on management, do they manage in an empathic way, is there a speak-up culture, was there a plan, do we really take risk management serious? A lot of questions to think over. His message: “lots of reasons to invest in ethical business culture.”

This eConference closes with a presentation by Jenitha John, Global Chairman of the Board of IIA Inc.(USA). In her opinion resilience is not only bouncing back, but also bouncing forward.  “The capacity to rebound, the ability to achieve, and the capability to succeed. Resilience is a key attribute needed to survive today’s volatile world and we need to transform with TACTT in order to show resiliency.” TACTT stands for Technology, Agility, Collaboration, Talent, and Tenacity (courage).  According to Jenitha, we’ve learned good things and things that we can improve. We didn’t adequately mapped our key risk, however, we are quick in adapting our plans. “Internal audit should be the eyes and ears of the organization. We should refocus on the new reality.” 

The host of this eConference Leen Paape closes the eConference with the sentences:

“We need to step up, we need to transform. Evolution begins now!”    



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