Top 5 skills for internal auditors

internal auditors

It won’t be surprising to say that organizations where internal audits offer added value can perform better (or outperform) in key areas. 2019 PwC Global Risk, Internal Audit and Compliance survey shows that internal audit functions, when blended with digital, elevates an auditor’s role to make better and smarter decisions. Factors below were considered to analyze an organization’s digital abilities:

With the landscape around us changing rapidly, it is easy to lose our way or fall behind – therefore, it is important to adapt and flex. Internal auditors are too, disrupting their conventional thinking patterns (thanks to digital initiatives) and in tandem with the stakeholders, shaping best practices. They evaluate a company’s health and safety management system, help build best practices, so upgrades to their skills and traits, remain essential.

Let us consider, or rather, go through the top 5 internal auditor’s skills as they are the ones who offer valuable insights to develop business acumen.

1. Proper understanding of the audit trail

As companies are responsible to choose their internal auditor(s), they must ensure that he/she is able to identify the type of documents required, when they need to be submitted, and who needs to be involved. These may entail examining a company’s internal controls around corporate governance, reporting and evaluating efficiencies of the same. Solid knowledge of the basic principles of auditing pertaining to EHS and OHS helps to manage the reference documents that accompany the process. It helps the organization identify its weaknesses, fix the faulty processes and control the environment internally to prevent harm in any form.

2. Good communication skills

Each process of an organization affects its stakeholders; hence it becomes vital for an internal auditor to possess good communication skills. They play an important role in explaining various components of the audit, how each one is necessary for compliance fulfillment. When they have an inquisitive approach and convey details that are exact, organizations benefit from every inch of their suggestion.

3. Skilled in assessing hazards

An internal auditor should be competent enough to understand and evaluate the risks in the industrial scenarios. Hazard review, assessments and management are the vital components of a health and safety audit. To ensure that the controls over the business are robust and effective, they must demonstrate skills as risk management experts.

4. Impartial approach

When companies adapt to rapid change, they face risks that are often unknown and uncharted; their potential impact on a business is substantial. As much as a good auditor holds knowledge of the company’s sector and work, their assessments must possess a level of integrity. Their interactions must be honest and unbiased and so should be their suggestions. As a professional, they must learn about all the ins and outs of the business and shouldn’t hesitate to offer insights, even if the decisions are critical and will impact their operations drastically.

5. Ability to blend modern approaches

Auditors with business acumen and demonstrated critical thinking are assets to any organization. If they build their digital skills to perform audits, they contribute more flexibly and in real-time. Use of analytics, software tools and mobile apps for assessments, or adapting to digital learning methods continuously prioritize risks, re-think and re-evaluate internal audit functions.

Internal auditors harness the power of the data and proactively contribute throughout the audit lifecycle – thus provide better insights to a business.

Internal audits help in better understanding of a company’s hazards – EHS and OHS safety in terms of risk, is continually revaluated. A company is legally obligated to maintain safe working conditions for their employees; and such follow-ups assess the organization’s capability to manage its safety ecosystem.

Image courtesy: Taken from flickr- worldsteel, TMK, safety audit, senior management at VTZ plant, accessed on 24 July 2019, 10:45 IST

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