In the 2015 State of the Internal Audit Profession Study, we introduced the concept of true north, a set of ideals for helping internal audit functions generate additional value by guiding their organisations from their current state to where they want to be. It is clear that any journey toward true north requires effective leadership.
This year’s study – which gathered insights from over 1,600 Chief Audit Executives (CAE’s) and their stakeholders, including senior management and board members – confirmed that internal audit functions with very effective leadership perform better and add greater value to the business. However, of those surveyed, 62% expect more value from Internal Audit.
We know that stakeholders can’t always define exactly what they want or need. Many of them simply don’t understand what’s possible from internal audit. And that gives Heads of Internal Audit an opportunity to work with stakeholders to shape the mandate that will provide the value that stakeholders expect and deserve.
Our study explores the characteristics that define standout leadership and key levers to drive increased value contribution, including:
A clear vision for internal audit, supported by a strategic plan and actionable steps get there
A focus on mentorship and talent development, and the ability to source the right talent in response to the organisation’s needs and emerging risks
Effective positioning of the internal audit function and demonstration of business insight and relevance, particularly on strategic risks
Quality communication beyond formal reporting to having an informed point of view on emerging risks, root causes of thematic issues, and connecting the dots on trends
Close alignment to the business and other assurance functions – with effective collaboration and partnership.