Protiviti Examines Global Shift in Internal Audit Function

In the latest edition of "Internal Auditing Around the World" published by Protiviti, a consultancy of global stature, leaders of internal audits from premier corporations worldwide unveil their strategies for cultivating multidisciplinary collaboration within their organizations. This collaboration is vital for diminishing risk. Volume nine, titled "Partnering Effectively Across the Organization," delves into the modalities through which these internal audit chieftains are forging connections across various departments. They are harvesting the fruits of newfound efficiency and enhanced insight into pivotal risks, whilst aiding their colleagues in comprehending these risks and their part in steering and lessening them.

Brian Christensen, Protiviti's Executive Vice President of Global Internal Audit, observes that the growing demand for more extensive collaboration and a holistic approach to risk management is propelling internal audit towards a prominent position within organizations. This enables it to become an authentic ally to both management and the board. The internal audit departments showcased in this study have adopted avant-garde, anticipatory methodologies that are not only proactive but also strategically influential.

Protiviti's publication features eight diverse enterprises from across the globe, representing various sectors. These organizations have reevaluated the expansive role of internal audit in their business, especially against the backdrop of an increasingly stringent regulatory milieu and the accompanying compliance demands. A consistent pattern emerges from these narratives: internal audit teams are consistently engaging in cross-departmental collaborations, thereby augmenting the value they bring to their businesses, while still preserving their impartiality and independence.

At Dassault Systemes, a French software enterprise, Corporate Audit Director Etienne Grobon has harnessed the power of teamwork. His compact internal audit group, comprising four members, gains strength and support through cooperative efforts with other business units within the company. Grobon remarks, “Risk management at Dassault Systemes is not the sole responsibility of a single individual or department; it's a collective endeavor.” He relies on compliance officers within the finance department for handling internal controls. Grobon's approach allows him to allocate issues or queries to the most apt team, thereby fostering a reliance on mutual support among these small groups. This strategy enables the sharing of knowledge and resources without necessitating an increase in personnel, ensuring both leanness and efficacy.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is another entity profiled in the report. It has developed a methodology that allows for collaboration and dependence on other organizational units without compromising its neutrality and independence. Anil Mathur, Senior Vice President and Chief Auditor at CIBC, emphasizes the importance of forming independent judgments despite collaborative efforts. He notes the varied perspectives on risk, depending on the focus of different groups within the organization, whether it be compliance, financial statements, or Sarbanes-Oxley related concerns. The internal audit function, he asserts, must comprehensively assess risk, integrating these diverse viewpoints to ensure a holistic understanding while still arriving at independent conclusions.

This ninth volume of "Internal Auditing Around the World" also includes profiles of companies like BHP Billiton and KPN, among others.