We are getting to that time of the year when many internal audit departments begin their annual budgeting exercise. For some departments, the budgeting process includes identification of funds to be allocated to continuing professional education and what types of training will best meet the needs of its team members. This often includes various considerations, such as any certifications held by department team members, strategic objectives and scope of the internal audit department, and specific team member needs.
The size of the internal audit department can present differing challenges in determining the right approach to training. Small departments may grapple with how to stay on top of the latest trends across a variety of different areas while the challenge for large shops may focus more on identifying a process to cross-train team members. Beyond determining whether the training costs will be absorbed by the audit department or the individual auditor, decisions also must be made about topics such as "should we send team members to external training or conferences, should we develop an in-house training program, or should we have a hybrid approach?" Further, global shops that choose an in-house training approach must consider whether to hold the training in-person or use technology for remote access to training. In many cases, cost may be a driving factor in the decision-making process.
According to the Global Internal Audit Common Body of Knowledge Practitioner Study report,
Lifelong Learning for Internal Auditors, by Eleftherios Tsintzas, most internal auditors report receiving at least 40 hours of formal training related to internal audit per year. Further, on average, 61 percent report that they obtained at least 40 hours of formal internal audit training during the previous year, with North America reporting the highest percentage (78 percent). In addition, based on interview comments, it is clear that the biggest barrier to obtaining internal audit training is cost, which, in most global regions, is not underwritten by employers. This means internal auditors must incur the costs of investing in their professional training.
Regardless of the specific approach to training adopted by each audit department, I think all would agree that ongoing training is critical to those in the internal audit profession. The changes that are taking place from the technological, regulatory, and business landscapes, just to name a few, require ongoing training to enable internal auditors to keep up.
If anyone has developed a unique approach or best practices to managing the internal audit training process, I'd love to hear from you.