Industry Report: Internal Audit Teams Must Become Agile to Survive

Agility and innovation. Those are two words you probably don’t associate with internal auditing. And that’s a problem, according to a new report by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), titled Global Perspectives and Insights: Agility and Innovation.

The report makes a bold claim: if internal auditors are going to remain relevant and add value to their organizations, they’ve got to improve flexibility, speed and their proactive approach towards meeting their company’s greatest needs. Here’s why.

Navigating Business Risks

Today’s organizations are facing more risks than ever—both internally and externally. They have to be prepared for sexual harassment incidents, cyberattacks, privacy breaches, changing trade and labor laws, financial losses and even social media campaigns against the company. The number of risks is increasing every year, and every one of them could be devastating.

These risks are becoming overwhelming for executive leadership to deal with. But an agile, responsive internal audit team could help the organization navigate this chaotic, unpredictable environment.

Boosting your value to the organization is a great prospect, but it comes with a cost. If internal auditing wants to thrive in your company, you need to do more with the same budget, time and resources—and do it in an innovative and agile way. Otherwise, you could be looking at a shrinking budget and fewer resources. Yippee.

Internal Audit Teams Aren’t Innovative or Agile

Even if you had the capacity to expand your activities in the organization, internal audit teams aren’t exactly known for their agility and innovation. According to the IIA report, in a survey of more than 600 Chief Audit Executives (CAEs), two-thirds of CAEs said that agility will be vital to future success of internal auditing. But only 45 percent of them said their auditing is actually agile.

Here’s what the report says in response to that: “The path toward agility and innovation may be challenging, with pitfalls, dead ends, and false starts blocking the road ahead. Regardless, the alternative to an agile, innovative audit function is one that remains slow and traditional—and that function just won’t last in the world that’s coming.” In other words, bite the bullet and find a way.

Planning a Way Forward

Fortunately, the IIA report outlines a plan to move forward. Among other recommendations, it says that CAEs need to dedicate resources to handle additional tasks. To become agile, audit teams need to tap into more voices in the organization and adopt technology that can help them become quicker and more responsive.

“Audit leaders will need to wean their departments off the labor-intensive tasks of testing and documentation,” the report states. “That implies an embrace of new innovative technologies such as robotic process automation to automate routine internal audit tasks or AI to automate the analysis of audit evidence.” That hits the nail on the head.

Audit teams that are using TCT Portal are already positioned to be agile. Our internal auditing platform automates your compliance management activities. That frees up your time and resources to respond quickly to address your company’s risks. Here are five ways TCT Portal does that.

1) Real-time auditing status

To be agile, you need to know exactly which documents have been submitted for audit, which are missing, and who is responsible for getting them to you. In real time. With TCT Portal, you know the task status of everyone on your team, at any moment. Our live dashboard is updated in real time with a live view of the state of your internal audit.

2) Documents linked to related requirements

TCT Portal links similar evidence across your certification, keeping all your document management in sync. Stop spending your time manually tracking the same documents against multiple compliance standards.

3) Automatic daily prompts

You’ll never become agile if you’re spending your time hunting down documents and nagging people to submit their evidence. But TCT Portal takes that off your hands by automatically prompting anyone who has an outstanding compliance task. Automated reminders are sent every weekday morning to everyone on your team who has an item that’s coming due soon or overdue.

Want to keep your eye on a specific requirement? No problem. With the TCT Portal you can receive automated notifications within an hour if something happens.

4) One submission method

TCT Portal streamlines the document submission method, too. The platform makes it simple for anyone in your organization to submit any kind of document into one single central location. No more email submissions, hard copies left on your desk, or uploads to weird places on the network. Submissions are easy for everyone, and it takes hours of hunting and gathering off your plate.

5) Automated tracking

When everyone submits their documents through TCT Portal, everything is stored in one place. Not only that, but it’s also mapped to the right requirement. Just go to your Dashboard, and all your evidence is located where it needs to be.

As you maintain compliance year-by-year, all your previous submissions are still there and easy to find—which is especially important when the person who submitted that evidence is no longer with the organization. You can see who did what, who loaded what and when they did it. Need to find last year’s screenshot of your central antivirus console configuration? You can find it within a couple mouse clicks.

Become an Agile Audit Team

Internal auditing needs to be innovative and agile, or it will slowly decline. If you want to stay relevant to your organization, you’ll need to find ways to address the risks that keep executives up at night, while continuing to maintain traditional auditing functions. That’s no easy task, but automated technologies will be at the center of the solution. TCT Portal puts you in prime position to automate key compliance tasks that typically chew up hundreds of man-hours each year. With TCT Portal, you can become a lean, mean, agile auditing team!

Get to know TCT Portal—request a demo.