We’ve been consulting with our internal auditors across the country. What did you tell us?
ACCA UK’s Internal Audit Network held three focus groups with members working in internal audit roles this year in London, Manchester and Cambridge. This followed the success of two focus groups held in Birmingham and Bristol last year, the feedback of which was used to determine ACCA UK’s CPD provision for internal auditors for 2016.
The key issues and points raised at this year’s focus group meetings are highlighted below.
Members working in internal audit value the ACCA qualification highly. They do not have the time to do the IIA qualification exams – but IIA’s technical content is very good so IIA affiliate membership is valued provided the employer pays for it. Members would consider the CIA qualification if the single fast-track ‘challenge’ exam was offered again – the two qualifications can complement each other.
ACCA cannot compete with a specialist body like IIA on technical content so ACCA should try to obtain access for its members to IIA content. A link-up between ACCA and IIA resulting in a reduced subscription fee for IIA if you are an ACCA member would be very welcome.
Experienced internal auditors require specialist training. ACCA’s series of cybersecurity webinars for internal auditors has been well received and any CPD that ACCA provides needs to be in-depth – general coverage of a topic is of little use. For networking to be of use, it needs to be with other members working in internal audit at a similar level. ACCA’s internal audit webinars and CPD articles are a valuable resource for members working in local government or smaller organisations where it is more difficult to meet CPD requirements.
CPD topics of interest include business transformation, risk culture, quality assurance, Brexit and continuity, OECD changes on transfer pricing, GRC (governance, risk management & compliance), thematic audits, big data and data analytics, and IT-related auditing.
The three biggest challenges to ACCA members working in internal audit are:
transitioning from transaction to risk-based auditing – internal audit is increasingly being seen as a problem-anticipator as well as problem-solver. It is increasingly involved in the introduction of any new systems and business transformation
multi-regulatory environments and the daily changes that can mean laws change overnight when preparation has already been done for a previous situation
knowing where your career is going.
The three biggest challenges facing organisations are:
the shortage of internal audit skills in the marketplace
older technology that cannot be readily replaced (particularly in the banking sector)
The lines between risk management and internal audit are very clear in the banking sector but less so in other sectors. However, all of our members are clear on the objectivity and independence of internal audit. Best practice is to guide the business to make recommendations rather than internal audit making them – this maintains independence for internal audit and secures buy-in from the business to implement its own recommendations.
Culture is seen as a challenging and subjective topic but it is a real area of interest for all members. The banking sector is focused on conduct risk but in other sectors, culture audits are not being carried out with any consistency.
Integrated assurance is not well understood in all quarters but is thought to have merit although there is little evidence that it can be made to work effectively in practice.
ACCA resources for members working in internal audit:
Cyber security series of webinars This series of seven webinars is now available on demand - each webinar lasts for an hour and constitutes one unit of CPD where the content is relevant to your current or future role. You can register to view these webinars any time.
ACCA UK’s Internal Audit e-Bulletin Our internal audit e-Bulletin is published three times a year and each edition includes a CPD article that can earn you one unit of verifiable CPD if you answer five questions correctly.