This week I have had the opportunity to visit Russia for the first time. After three days of meetings with senior government officials and chief audit executives of leading Russian companies, my optimism about the future economic development of this country in general, and IIA–Russia in particular, is very high!
When one considers that a free market economy has only been in place in Russia for a brief 20 years, the progress is astounding. Prior to the global economic crisis, Russia's economic growth had averaged almost 7 percent annually over the past decade. When you couple the progress to-date with the reality that Russia has more natural resources at its disposal than virtually any country in the world — the potential is unlimited.
IIA–Russia has been one of the most remarkable stories of the past decade within the IIA network. A mere 10 years ago, IIA–Russia did not even exist (it was chartered in June 2000). Today, it has more than 1,100 members representing almost every industry and sector. During my visit, I have met with the chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation (the equivalent of the U.S. Comptroller General), the vice president of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (the largest stock exchange in Russia), and senior officials from the Central Bank. All of them have expressed admiration for IIA–Russia and its potential to enhance the profession and the overall quality of internal controls and corporate governance in the country. I share their view.
While I believe that IIA–Russia has one of the most promising futures among our institutes, it is not alone. Around the world, there are IIA institutes that are similarly positioned to lead the growth and development of the internal audit profession well into the 21st century.
Engaging with key stakeholders around the world, advocates for this profession work diligently to promote the value of internal auditing to governments and development institutions such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
It is our objective to collaborate wherever possible to ensure that aspiring institutes such as IIA–Russia have the support and resources to advance the profession as part of the overall economic development in their countries.
I want to thank my Russian colleagues for making this such an exciting and inspiring experience.