Whenever I talk to my colleagues about ways internal audit can add value and strengthen an organization, their reaction always is that you first must have a strong foundation in place to build off of. Our people are what help build that foundation. You not only need a strong foundation, you also need a unique foundation.
The IIA has done a great job of developing the Global Internal Audit Competency Framework, which outlines some of the important focus areas for auditors. There are various traits and characteristics that come easier to an internal auditor than others, and everyone develops his or her skill set in different ways. While our natural tendency is to align ourselves with those with whom we have something in common, I challenge auditors to pair with someone who is somewhat different. Look for someone who is unique and has different views and experiences.
We should be looking for someone who is not your typical auditor. Some potential characteristics that can make someone unique are nonaudit business experience, leadership activities, technology skills, and types of educational experiences. These individuals coupled with experienced auditors can increase internal audit's value within the organization.
When we disrupt the status quo we begin to see something unusual happen in our departments. New ideas are generated, new approaches are created, and in turn we begin to see more value created for our organizations.
This approach can even be applied to skill sets. We tend to want to segregate different skill sets within our departments. For example, we may have an IT auditor and a business process auditor who only focus on their respective areas. While this is an effective method, have you considered what would happen if we asked our business process auditors to work with our IT auditors on technology audits, or ask our IT auditors to work with our business process auditors in their area. Yes, there may be some initial challenges when pairing, but you will find that you also get a unique perspective with the integration of different people with different skill sets. This can ultimately add tremendous value to our organizations!
Have you worked with auditors who do not fit the traditional mold? Are you a nontypical auditor yourself? Tell us your story below.