The IIA Audit Executive Center has recently released a Knowledge Alert entitled “Recent Impacts on the Staffing and Sourcing of North American Internal Audit Services” (October 2009). The survey assessed the overall impacts of the economic crisis on the internal audit profession in North America. Overall, results indicate that internal audit activities have experienced staff reductions with 23% of the respondents reporting staff cuts in 2009. The survey also found that the top three risk areas where internal audit skills are lacking or insufficient include IFRS (53%), Data Analytics (48%) and Fraud/Forensics (48%). This skills shortage is becoming more critical and is further aggravated by staff reductions.
Despite the economic malaise which has gripped North America in the past 12 months, many economist are predicting a much improved 2010, which is a relief to all of us. Leading audit professionals may want to start planning ahead for this recovery by re-instating their professional development budgets as they go through their budget processes. As the survey shows, an area of focus would be in developing auditors’ skill sets with data analysis software such as ACL and Analytics Exchange. Ensuring auditors are skilled with the most current data analysis software helps in ensuring quality technology-enabled audits.
Unquestionably, the economic downturn has also impacted staff morale across many organisations. However, the development of staff and the investment of training dollars in their audit capabilities is a key way to improve morale while continuing to nurture and grow the best-in-class audit shop that are better equipped with audit analysis technology to deal with fraud investigations, continuous auditing improvements and compliance.
The full survey can be found here
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