Blog: Leadership in Internal Audit for the Private Sector

December 5th, 2017 Top Ten

Follow Edward Olson CPA, CA Practice Leader, Advisory Services as he shares the learnings he has gleaned from being an award winning leader in Internal Audit. He shares a quick top ten of valuable insights for the Internal Auditor of today.

Last week I was invited to present at the Institute of Internal Auditors Edmonton Chapter’s Lunch & Learn series. I was asked to describe my leadership, thoughts and guidance that lead my company to receive an award for leadership in Internal Audit during my previous role in industry as a Chief Audit Executive. The learnings I shared with the group was a “Top 10” list of thoughts and behaviors which I see as valuable to the Internal Auditor of today. I wanted to share this list as follows:

  1. Learn before you leap. Inventory your environment. Too little time is spent learning before undertaking change.
  2. Develop critical relationships – “who’s who in the zoo?”. If you know them, do they know you? Develop relationships with all levels of the organization, but especially key decision makers.
  3. Know the corporate strategy. You’d better have an “objective register” which links your audit activity to the corporate strategy.
  4. Develop tools to enhance your game. Data analytics is here to stay and will change how this audit profession provides value.
  5. Become experts. Embed your team into operations and develop expertise to raise your value as well as your understanding of the business.
  6. Remember (or develop) service level agreements. Can you describe yours? Can your internal clients describe them?
  7. THINK – don’t just rely on frameworks. Ask these 3 questions: 1) Where is the company going?; 2) What is in their way?; 3) What are they going to do about it? Add value by linking your services to these questions to provide answers and help the business.
  8. Market internal audit. Sell your services and successes. Don’t just exist to find problems – find how to make things better.
  9. Push the envelope – if our world is changing around us, how are we changing our audit practices? Audit reporting? Timing of audit communications? Tools for conducting audit work? Including what we audit? Change, adapt and stay relevant.
  10. Continuously improve. Research, research, research. Learn through industry peers, roundtables, training, shadowing operations, and professional associations.

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