The accelerating pace of technology advancements is creating significant disruption within organizations — and it appears internal auditors may not be keeping pace. A new report from The IIA, OnRisk 2020: A Guide to Understanding, Aligning, and Optimizing Risk, reveals that one risk area in which internal audit may be falling behind is data and new technology.
According to OnRisk, only 17% of internal auditors consider themselves knowledgeable about data and new technology, lower than the 42% of board members and 26% of those from the C-suite who consider themselves the same. For auditors to be taken seriously in the boardroom, they must address these knowledge gaps.
The OnRisk report recommends that chief audit executives "dedicate resources to better understanding how the organization is leveraging data and technology in new ways." Internal audit should be able to provide assurance on the impact of data and new technology on the "collection, management, and protection of data," the report says.
To do that, internal auditors need to ensure they're educating themselves in these areas. In that vein, auditors may want to read "Framing AI Audits" (page 29), which takes an in-depth look at internal audit's role in assessing artificial intelligence risks and testing system controls. Also in this issue, "Bots of Assurance" (page 42) considers how audit functions can catch up with their organizations' use of robotic process automation by deploying bots to enhance their assurance capabilities. Finally, readers may want to check out the first of a three-part series of reports coming from Deloitte and the Internal Audit Foundation on new technologies, Moving Internal Audit Deeper Into the Digital Age: Part 1.
According to OnRisk, as risks around data and new technology grow in relevance over the next five years, risk management players need to build knowledge in this area. Internal audit professionals who take their fate into their own hands and improve their tech knowledge will likely find themselves in high demand, as OnRisk also notes organizations are struggling to attract and retain talent with data and IT skills.
Finally, with this issue we say goodbye to our designer, Joe Yacinski. I have worked with Joe since I joined The IIA in late 2000, and I will greatly miss our collaborations. His thoughtful and creative approaches to the many challenging articles we've brought him over the years — how does one illustrate internal control? — have resulted in the magazine receiving numerous accolades. Joe's contributions have helped make the magazine the professional publication it is today. Joe, thank you, and we wish you well.