​Editor's Note: Internal Audit in 2015

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​Is your internal audit function prepared to handle the challenges coming its way in 2015? As recent industry surveys revealed, there is a gap between what stakeholders expect of internal audit and what auditors are delivering. In the coming year, CAEs will need to continue to up their game to ensure they are maintaining and building staffs with the business acumen, technology skills, and innovative thinking necessary to remain relevant to the organization.

The internal audit experts interviewed in “The Year Ahead” are well aware of the challenges facing the profession and are focusing their attention and efforts on the areas that will help their audit functions meet them. They tell author Russell Jackson they expect the work of their audit departments in 2015 to range from data analytics and cybersecurity to compliance and the three lines of defense.

Technology expertise, and specifically, knowledge of data analytics, is a common theme throughout the cover story as well as in this month’s “Eye on Business.”  “The lines between auditor and IT auditor are becoming increasingly blurred,” TeamMate’s Michael Gowell says. He and our other IT expert, Caseware’s Andrew Simpson, agree that many of the technology-related audits historically performed by IT auditors are now an expected job requirement of all internal auditors.

Raytheon’s Larry Harrington says the skills mix of internal auditors will change considerably in 2015, with more auditors coming from nonconventional backgrounds. “Internal auditors will also further strengthen their analytical and critical thinking skills, their IT skills, and their data analytics, risk management, and communication skills,” he predicts in the cover story.

To ensure they have the right staff with the necessary skills, some CAEs may need to grow their departments in the coming year. According to preliminary data from The IIA Audit Executive Center’s annual North American survey, 28 percent of CAEs and audit directors say their staff levels will increase, and 41 percent of those respondents expect an increase in budget levels, in 2015.

In 2014, internal audit’s stakeholders made perfectly clear there is a gap between what they expect of internal audit and what they’re receiving. In the coming year, auditors have the opportunity to respond to stakeholder concerns by focusing their efforts and showing stakeholders the great value internal audit can add.

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