I have taken an entire year off my blog, not intentionally you understand, but pressure of work, a change of role and an international move crowded out this blog. To be honest, I was not sure whether I had anything more to say on internal audit.
I am glad to say, the year off has been good. I think I do have something to say about internal audit and I think internal audit (done well) has an ever-more important role globally. So I’m back (and will try to stick to this during 2019)!
I think internal audit is more relevant in 2019 than at any other time; but only if it’s done well. I worry that organisations and individuals are increasingly being revealed as not being straightforward and trustworthy. If I take my own sector, the humanitarian sector, the safeguarding and abuse scandals suffered by Oxfam and others have overshadowed the amazing work my sector does globally. Good internal audit and investigations work is now a pre-requisite for success in my sector, and rightly so.
Most striking, as we start 2019, is the polarisation of populations in societal and political discourse. We see some evidence of centrist and moderate views being crowded out in the media and elections by more polarised positions. We can point to a number of democracies across the world where division has become ever more apparent. We also see in my view, a trend away from evidence-based and more critical thinking, for less complex and temptingly simple analyses and diagnoses for the world’s problems. I think internal audit should be the evidence-based voice of calm, supportive advice and enhancing critical thinking about how we solve the world’s challenges and to encourage all views and people to be valued equally to appreciate our common humanity.
We as chief audit executives have a responsibility to our organisations and the stakeholders and customers they serve, to bring a disciplined approach to risk assessment to help our organisations deliver on their goals ethically and with full consideration of the environmental impact they have. Often internal audit has the positional strength within organisations to drive change, in particular to practice and culture. We need to work with our organisation’s governing boards, no matter how they are organised and structured, to get a forward problem-solving mindset. For larger organisations in particular can help drive globalisation to a more inclusive, helpful, place where the world collaborates to solve the big challenges of our time.
So this new year, I hope to keep you in contact with my thoughts and challenges in internal audit and hope that we, Team Audit, can really push for improvements to our world. I would welcome your thoughts and challenge too, so please contact me with them.