Time to seize the opportunity

The IIA Audit Executive Center’s 2013 global Pulse of the Profession survey
yielded six headline findings:
  • A substantial majority of CAEs report functionally to the full board or its audit committee. This high-level reporting relationship is most prevalent in North America and Africa and least common in Latin America.
  • Similarly, a majority of CAEs from Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region report administratively to the CEO. North America lags in this regard, with only about one-third of CAEs reporting to their organization’s top-ranking executive. Conversely, more than a third of North American CAEs report administratively to the CFO, a practice far less common elsewhere.
  • Many CAEs worldwide appear to have more staff and, to an even greater extent, budget resources at their disposal in 2013 than in any other year of the post financial-crisis era.
  • The focus of audits at organizations worldwide largely aligns with the risks now facing organizations — most notably toward those arising from operational efficiency and effectiveness, information technology, and regulatory compliance. This year, there is a notable increase of focus on strategic risks and risk management assurance, especially in Latin America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The staff skills most sought by CAEs correspond to shifts in their audit focus, led worldwide by analytical and critical thinking and communications abilities. The historically stereotypical technical skill of accounting is far down or does not even appear on global CAEs’ lists of their top five desired skills.
  • Opportunities remain worldwide — some of them, arguably, with CAEs as the catalyst — to strengthen some organizations’ tone at the top.

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