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The smart, small internal audit function
At an IIA Audit Executive Center CAE roundtable discussion early this year, some participants shook their heads when asked what it would take to make their audit functions more innovative. Participants said they didn’t have the resources to even consider innovating. However, Jim Pelletier, IIA vice president of Professional Standards and Knowledge and InternalAuditor.org’s innovation blogger, told them they should not consider lack of resources a roadblock to innovating, as it only takes one person to think differently and challenge the status quo.
Approximately one-fourth of North American IIA members are full-time employees of small (one- to five-person) audit functions, according to The IIA’s 2018 Member Needs Survey. In this month’s cover story, “Small But Tech Savvy” (page 24), CAEs of small functions discuss how they are using technology creatively, efficiently, and cost effectively. “Through innovative techniques and keen attention to stakeholder needs, many small audit functions are making the most of the technology tools at their disposal,” author Arthur Piper writes.
Innovation and flexibility go hand in hand. “With limited resources comes limited time, but small audit functions must maintain flexibility when events occur that are outside the scope of the audit plan,” writes Justin Stroud, who was brought in as Western Reserve Group’s one-person audit department nearly four years ago(see “Governance Perspectives” on page 60). “Having laser focus and a detailed game plan can help squeeze in work that can add value to the organization.”
And small audit departments have been known to do great things! In this month’s “Fraud Findings” (page 22), read how a lone internal auditor worked with a forensic investigator to uncover a nearly $4 million embezzlement — no small feat.
So, here’s to the small but mighty audit function, the men and women who work tirelessly to enhance and protect organizational value. These small teams are succeeding through agility and innovation.
Read Internal Auditor December 2018 online