In the new reality arising from COVID-19, business leaders are facing their most difficult challenges in generations and seeking a way forward amid uncertainty. The environment of constant change has shifted the focus areas that need attention from executives, accelerated their decision-making timeframes and changed the risk landscape. Inevitably this also has implications for internal audit, its role and function within the organization.
We have consolidated key insights from discussions with Internal Audit (IA) leaders and Audit Committee (AC) members in recent months and further developed our proposed approach to help support internal audit departments as they navigate the changing risk landscape of their organizations, so that they can have a meaningful impact now and in the future.
IA’s mission remains to enhance and protect organizational value. However, in times of business uncertainty, this mission is put under extreme pressure and it’s important to clearly define the role and value of IA under these circumstances.
IA can be of great value to an organization by leaning in on the following:
IA planning should also be reviewed in light of the new context: the COVID-19 outbreak has shaken up operations across the business, processes have been adjusted, new risks have entered the organization’s risk landscape and changes in the internal control environment have taken place.
It’s important that these insights are clearly reflected in the IA plan.
An illustration of possible IA plan shifts is given below.
Now more than ever agility must be embraced and a shift in the risk landscape of an organization necessitates a shift in the audit plan. Internal Audit must ask following questions: