Internal auditors are a crucial pillar of good governance, controls and risk management in any organisation. What qualities stand out in auditors?
In a recent post by Ideagen, the company outlined eight qualities of an internal auditor that helps them stand out from the run-of-the-mill.
First of all, a good internal auditor shows integrity. The firm remarked, “Internal auditors need to be able to objectively analyse, advise and influence behaviour from the highest levels of the organisation. However, this may be subject to some resistance and disagreement at times. If any problems do arise, internal auditors should show integrity and resilience to reach constructive resolutions.”
In the opinion of the company, the best internal auditors aren’t phased the opinion of the highest paid person – as they are required to have an opinion on a range of matters, they must have the self-confidence to comment and object.
In addition, they must be effective communicators. Ideagen remarked that they should be clear, succinct and prescriptive in all aspects of their evaluations and reports. This, the firm claims, will ensure business leaders value their consultation and adhere to their advice.
Being good with technology is also key for internal auditors. With audit software often saving hours, even days, of work when conducting internal audits – it is key that such auditors are tech savvy and have a good handle on technology and new developments in the space.
Auditors should also be good at building collaborative relationships. Ideagen said, “The best internal auditors can engage and influence stakeholders throughout the organisation, whilst cultivating a high level of trust and respect. Though developing these relationships can take time, the benefits are undeniable. By laying this groundwork, auditors can reduce push-back during the auditing process, promote a greater understanding of internal audit’s valuable role in the business, and increase the speed at which information is shared in response to audit requests.”
Like the brightest and best, internal auditors are also always learning – another key quality. With more environments changing on a weekly or even daily basis, internal auditors must remain curious to gain new insights.
Auditors should also leverage data analytics. The firm remarked, “Often there is so much that needs improving that it can feel overwhelming for internal auditors to know where to start. Skilled internal auditors take a risk-based approach to prioritise their workload and use data analytics to know where to focus. This avoids those time-consuming, tedious activities.
“Moreover, harnessing the power of data analytics across the entire audit lifecycle and aligning this to strategic goals has additional benefits. It provides internal auditors with a sharper focus on risk areas and wider business issues, whilst generating efficiencies. The very best auditors understand this.”
Being innovative is also key for auditors. In auditing, problem-solving is at its heart – and the best problem solvers use creativity and innovation to address issues that aren’t so black and white.
Auditors also need to be team orientated. Ideagen said, “Being able to foster positive relationships across a team is essential. Not only does this show a high degree of emotional intelligence, but it also makes for a more seamless internal audit service.
“Auditors have varying levels of expertise to bring to the table and the highly integrated nature of this function requires intensive collaboration amongst peers. Auditors should be supportive and willing to share their knowledge. Likewise, being able to influence, lead and empathise with other colleagues are all promising capabilities for audit leaders of the future.”
Read the full post here.