5 Lessons For Success In Internal Auditing

by: Naohiro Mouri, CPA, CIA
AIG – Executive Vice President and Chief Auditor

Over the course of my 2018-19 chairmanship of The Institute of Internal Auditors’ Global Board of Directors, I thought I would share some of my experiences and thoughts with the hopes that you will find them interesting and insightful.

The first month passed very quickly, coming off a very successful and record-breaking IIA International Conference in Dubai in the beginning of the month. I feel my first in-person Executive Committee (EC) and Board meeting as Chairman were quite successful as we addressed issues important not only to The IIA, but to the entire internal audit profession.

And I’m just getting started: there are three more in-person ECs and another in-person Board meeting through my 14-month term ending in July 2019. I’ll also participate in a number of conferences as well as chapter and institute visits. As the last Chairman residing in the current EC and Board structure, I feel compelled to do everything I can to pursue my role productively and successfully.

As I said at the end of my chairman’s theme video, let’s get started! Here’s a few things I’ve learned throughout my internal auditing career.

1. Love the profession. I have known a number of IIA Chairs and I can tell you that every one of them has a deep passion for this job. I call it a love of the profession.

If you love what you do, you will never get tired of doing it. And, because of that, you will always strive to spend time thinking deeply about how you can do things better. As you continue to explore better and more efficient ways of doing what you love, you will be very good at it.

Love of this profession creates positive energy for me. I have been in it for 25 years, spent countless nights and weekends completing one more step to brush up audit reports, to create CIA exam questions and to draft presentations for speaking at conferences. But I truly enjoy it all because this profession has provided me with a sense of purpose by helping the organization and my fellow auditors around the world. And more than a job, this is my lifelong pursuit to help my organization achieve its goals and the profession to achieve greatness. Love what you do, and you will go very far.

2. Get the basics right. As with any job, you need to stand on firm professional ground to enable yourself to help others. Securing professional certification such as CIA, by learning the International Professional Practice Framework, is the first step to building your professional foundation. Without a solid understanding of what it takes to do your job, you will not go very far in your career. Yes, empirical knowledge and experience are important, but your firm grasp of why, what and how to conduct professional activities – based on the certification program – will provide you with the most efficient and effective ways to deliver your work as an internal auditor. If you are not certified, it is not too late to start. Do it now.

3. Always think about why you are doing what you do. This is about the mission, vision and value of your work. Whether you are in public, private, government or nonprofit, your mission as an internal auditor should be to protect the organization and help it achieve its goals.

I have seen auditors do what is stipulated in their job description. That’s fundamental. But what is more important is why you are doing it.

If why you are auditing for your organization is synonymous with your organization’s goals — that is wonderful. But if you are doing it simply as you are told to do it, perhaps you have already limited your career progression, because it will reflect in how you perform your job. You need to possess a clear sense of purpose, represented by your mission, vision and value to go as far as you can in this profession.

4. Change for improvement is the only constant state. There has been a lot of discussion recently about how the Fourth Industrial Revolution changes our profession. The Internet and technological advancements in robotics and AI will certainly change how we conduct our audit procedures. I am a big proponent of machine testing and learning: they excel in what they provide, processing large volumes of data and performing repetitious tasks. Humans, on the other hand, provide creative solutions and communicate issues based on machine testing. Our stakeholders are quick to integrate available technologies to optimize their processes and businesses. So should we. Actions such as moving from sample testing to full population testing and using data analytics to visualize trends and audit issues are here to stay. We need to use them to our advantage. Audit bots will search big data for anomalies and they can even uncover issues based on their algorithms. All of these activities will help internal auditors to better serve its stakeholders to protect and help optimize controls over these activities. So, you need to constantly be thinking about how you can improve your audit activities.

5. Have fun doing it. I am not talking about parties, but it is intellectually stimulating to learn new processes and businesses, optimize audit processes and help the organization to optimize its controls. It is fun doing these activities and it makes you grow professionally.
I hope you will continue to follow me on LinkedIn and find value in the experiences and insights I share with you. If you would like to add your comments or share my musings with others, please do so.




Article via LinkedIn.com