Critical Skills of the Modern Internal Auditor


Increasing uncertainty has changed the environment in which the internal auditor operates.

Factors such as globalization, rapid advancement in technology, and disruptive innovations have made it necessary for the modern internal auditor to realign their skills and attributes.

To add greater value to the organization and keep ahead of current trends, the modern internal auditor has to equip themselves with a different set of skills. Skills that will allow them to adapt to emerging threats, disruptions, technologies, and sophistication of modern operations.

Some critical skills needed by the modern internal auditor include:

1.Technology Skills

The rise of new technology; increase in cyber-attacks; emergence of disruptive innovations such as Robotic Process Automation, Internet of Things, Artificial and Cognitive Intelligence present new risks that need a new set of capabilities to audit.

The modern internal auditor needs to have a good understanding of technology to be able to ask the right questions, identify the exposures, and recommend controls in addressing technology related risks.

2.Risk Sensing

The ability to sense risks is a core skill that the modern internal auditor should have. Risk sensing requires a different approach and mindset. As opposed to the traditional historical testing, risk sensing is a more proactive approach.

It is a skill that enables the internal auditor to point out emerging risks before they materialize by analyzing trends, events, and issues affecting the organization.

3.Analytical and Critical Thinking Skills

With the growing volume of data and increasing complexity in organizations, the internal auditor must have the ability to analyze, breakdown, and test data and events.

They must be able to understand the interrelationships between issues, find hidden gaps, recognize patterns, conduct root cause analysis, and draw value adding conclusions.

4.Communication skills

An effective internal auditor must be able to convey findings, recommendations, and risks to enable the organization appreciate the issues without going into too much details.

Internal audit reports should be organized and easy to understand. Audit interviews should enable the identification of issues without antagonizing the interviewee. Audit presentations need to be precise and engaging.

5.Business Awareness

Listed by the Institute of Internal Auditors as one of the top ten core competencies, business acumen has long since been a critical skill for the internal auditor.

As a business partner, the internal auditor must know the organizations key drivers, have industry knowledge, understand performance metrics, financial indicators, and operational efficiencies. This enables the internal auditor to build credibility and gain the confidence of stakeholders.

Does Your Internal Audit Team Have the Right Skills?

Accelerated change has necessitated the internal audit function to go beyond its traditional role. Having the right skill set is the cornerstone for a highly successful internal audit function.

At P&P Inspekt, our trained and specialized recruitment consultantswork with organizations to assist them conduct skills analysis for their audit functions and offer advice on skill sets that will best address organization audit needs.

We have specialized in internal audit, risk management, IT audit, compliance and corporate governance careers across all industries. If you would like us to work with you, build out your audit team or simply looking for internal audit talent, we are able to help. Contact us.