Global audit committee survey

Internal audit: Soaring through turbulent times

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues across the globe such as climate change, organisations face threats to profit and viability. Deloitte’s 2020 global audit committee survey report highlights what audit committees across the world really want from their internal audit (IA) functions in the midst of changing conditions and rising expectations.

The survey presents insights from over 60 board members, audit committee chairs, and audit committee members, which represents more than 140 companies from 20 countries, including every major industry sector. This includes Fortune 500 companies, smaller organisations, those with innovative IA groups and those with more-traditional functions. We conducted a series of 1-on-1 interviews, which included open discussions.

While IA functions are more valued than ever, they must now report faster, engage with stakeholders more quickly, and find new ways to add value. Simultaneously, IA functions must replace processes that have historically been manual, ad hoc and unsustainable.

Our key findings include:

  1. The role of IA: You must move the needle toward more advisory work and be active in making decisions on governance, risk, and control, so that the function is seen as a problem solver.
  2. Talent: 96% of respondents stated that IA needs to broaden its skillset, therefore, your IA function needs to team for success both within and outside the function, to drive progress. Complementary and non-traditional skillsets are a vital addition to technical skills.
  3. Budget: IA groups with the greatest impact are not necessarily those with biggest budget. Your IA budget isn’t likely to increase, so it’s not about doing more with less but doing different with less.
  4. Psychological safety: Fostering trust and open communications in your organisation will drive progress. IA can enable the second line to improve. Work more closely with management and think about how your function’s work can be positioned to encourage control issues to be surfaced and addressed.
  5. Reporting: 63% of respondents said IA should be faster reporting results of their work. There is a need to tailor output to better inform your stakeholders of emerging concerns before they become critical.
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