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Guiding principles for conducting a remote internal audit

Building resilience in Internal Audit during COVID-19

With COVID-19 affecting every aspect of the work environment, organizations should adjust to remote internal auditing to drive change and increase long-term resiliency. Now, more than ever before, Internal Audit (IA) should consider deploying enabling digital technologies, beyond analytics and automation, with the objective of becoming more agile, cost-conscious, and smarter about providing services that make an impact.

Internal Audit’s response to remote auditing

During this time of unparalleled change, IA should continue to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while simultaneously increasing its role in advising management and the board on the shifting risk and control landscape, including anticipating new emerging risks.

But how can IA become an adaptive team player and high-value contributor when every aspect of service delivery is disrupted?

To this end, Deloitte has compiled a set of guiding principles across a standard IA life cycle as an immediate response, enabling internal auditors to adjust to the "next normal" of remote internal auditing. We have also highlighted transformational digital technologies and methodologies that can be utilized to drive change and increase long-term organizational resilience.

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Internal Audit’s response to remote auditing

Deloitte’s guiding principles for virtual internal auditing

Taking the time to institute a set of guiding principles for remote internal auditing is instrumental in preserving IA’s ability to perform well, be present for stakeholders, and remain sustainable in the long term. We have grouped the guiding principles to align with a standard audit life cycle, addressing six areas that can be evaluated as IA shifts to auditing with little to no contact.

The foundational principle: Stay connected

Underpinning all of the other guiding principles, IA teams should stay connected above all else. As the organization moves toward virtual operations, IA should communicate often to maintain a positive team culture and to assess the impact of dynamic circumstances on processes, controls, and risks. Encourage the use of video capabilities during meetings, set meeting protocols, catch up with the team daily, and dedicate time for social interaction to remain successful.

Opportunities to drive change and increase long-term organizational resilience

Deloitte has highlighted the following transformational digital technologies and methodologies that can be utilized to influence change and resilience during this time of crisis and uncertainty:

What might the COVID-19 pandemic mean for IA strategy in the long term?

Organizational resilience will likely be the main focus for nearly every company moving forward, making the role of IA ever more pertinent. In the long term, IA should recognize that a deeper digital transformation is likely required, embracing continuous risk assessment, exploratory analytics, automated controls testing, and agile methods as a way of decreasing costs and adding advisory value in any environment—whether physical, virtual, or somewhere in between.

We encourage you to further explore our insights by reading the full POV available for download or reaching out to your Deloitte professional for more information.

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