Towards the end of July I was in New York, where I attended the IIA Global Council and participated in the IIA International Conference. Both were a welcome opportunity to meet with colleagues and internal auditors from across the globe and discuss the current challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for both the profession and the IIA.
First up, I attended the Global Council of the IIA. Meeting every year, the council is a forum that allows the presidents and chief executives of the national institutes to meet to discuss global strategy and co-operation.
During the meeting, we discussed key trends facing the future of the profession and the IIA, in particular relating to standards, guidance and certifications.
We also considered how to better leverage our collective knowledge and resources to the benefit of our members. All attendees were keen to take advantage of the global knowledge base that the IIA has to offer.
Global Council can seem like a bit of a “talking shop” but it plays an essential role in feeding in to IIA’s global strategy and is an important way to brief our volunteer leaders on international matters affecting the profession.
Following the Global Council, I attended the IIA Global Conference, held 17-20 July.
Delegates to the conference were treated to a number of informative presentations on a range of topics, but it was interesting to see two key themes emerge.
The first key theme was culture. It struck me that there is more and more interest in the topic of auditing culture, with a number of packed sessions filled with delegates intently listening to presentations on the topic.
Amongst the presentations, Mark Carawan, president of the Chartered IIA, gave a highly engaging talk drawing on both his experiences as chief auditor at Citigroup and our own recent report on the topic published as part of the Financial Reporting Council’s Culture Coalition. On ethics and culture, Mark stressed the need throughout to ask whether the way we behave in our organisations is “right, good, and fitting”. Or to put it another way: “Would your mother approve?”
Considering the wide geopolitical ramifications of the 23 June vote here in the UK to leave the European Union, it was perhaps unsurprising that the second key theme to emerge during the conference was that of Brexit.
It was clear to me that there is global interest within the profession as to the impact of the referendum vote.
Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave a particularly insightful speech on global trends. Stating that Brexit “is not an isolated incident”, Ms Gillard described the vote as “a hard note of an underlying trend” of a lack of public trust in politicians. Ms Gillard concluded by emphasising that it is necessary to “understand the complexities of our time” – something that internal auditors know well given their need for objectivity and capacity for analysis.
Indeed, the risks and opportunities posed by the vote to leave the EU are issues that we at the Chartered IIA are also considering in great detail currently. To this end, we will soon be releasing the results of our Brexit survey, which closed last week and gathered the thoughts of internal audit professionals as to the impact of the vote and the role of internal audit in organisations working to manage Brexit risk.
Now returning to the day-to-day business of the Chartered IIA, my time in New York has armed me with fresh perspectives on issues that are clearly of interest, not just to internal auditors in the UK and Ireland but across the world.