In the first quarter of 2013, Protiviti released a report on the results of its annual “Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey.”  The “Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey” is designed to evaluate the current knowledge and skill requirements of the internal audit function.  The survey results illustrate which areas internal auditors feel most and least competent in terms of skill and experience.  The results also identify specific areas of concern for the internal audit function – areas in which professionals feel their skills need improvement. 

Over 1,000 internal audit professionals participated in this year’s survey.  The professionals represent organizations from a broad spectrum of industries, including government/not-for-profit.  These organizations also vary widely in terms of size (based on annual gross revenue) and geographic placement. 

In its report, Protiviti includes analysis to show variation in responses between professionals working in different sized organizations.  Protiviti also provides separate analysis of survey responses submitted by chief audit executives (CAE), which accounted for 18% of all survey responses, for the purpose of comparing the responses of the CAE group to those of the general survey population.

Overall, Protiviti’s report shows that many of the most significant knowledge gaps for the internal audit function (areas in which internal audit competency is low and the need for skill improvement is high) center on items with critical, enterprise-level impact.  For example, the survey results demonstrate some of the greatest need for internal auditor knowledge around topics like:

  • Social media use
  • IT security and controls
  • Cloud computing
  • Data analytics

As organizations continue, for example, to increase their use of social media applications, internal auditors will be required to think more and more broadly about the risks of social media to the enterprise.  The same can be said for any of the topics mentioned above; each of these items creates risk for an organization across a variety of planes, and internal auditors must gain an understanding of this and how to manage those risks going forward.

Protiviti includes numerous graphics within its report to visually demonstrate how respondents rated each competency area included in the survey.  Protiviti also includes charts showing the evolution of the top “needs improvement” areas over last three annual surveys.  In addition to the graphics, the report also features critical thinking questions that prompt internal audit professionals to think about enterprise risk and their own skill sets.  All of these materials from Protiviti could serve as valuable benchmarking information for professionals reviewing this report.

Link: Protiviti

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ERM Enterprise Risk Management Initiative 2013-03-01