The end of the final year of our latest strategic plan offers a fitting moment to reflect; not just on a very successful year, but on three years of achievement and growth for the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors.
Upon adoption in 2013, the plan focused on five key areas: raising the profile of the profession; developing the competence of internal auditors; engaging with key stakeholders; growing our membership; and generating income. Throughout, the institute has been guided by its twin missions of developing the profession and promoting its role and value.
In the three years since, the institute has seen big successes in each of these five areas, boosting the profile and influence of internal audit through the release of a number of trailblazing policy reports, the successful staging of several high-profile events, and increased engagement with the media. All the while, we have continued to improve how we support individual members and teams.
The past year in particular has been a strong one for the institute, witnessing the successful introduction of a new global qualifications suite; the publication of a major policy report on the auditing of culture; and further strong growth in our provision of external quality assessments (EQAs). Perhaps the greatest indicator of our success, however, has been record membership levels, hitting more than 9,300 members in 2015/16.
Before looking at our achievements from the past three years, it is worth turning briefly to the future. As one strategy draws to a close, a new one begins for 2016-2019. The institute will continue to pursue its mission of supporting and developing the internal audit profession and achieving recognition of the profession as essential to organisations’ success.
In realising this mission, we will pursue three strategic goals: raising the profile and standing of the internal audit profession and increasing its influence; developing the knowledge, skills and expertise of internal audit professionals; and growing the membership of the institute.
Looking back, the past three years have seen solid growth for the institute and a number of key successes and achievements; as we pursue these strategic goals we will work to remain on this trajectory while continuing to improve how we serve, support and promote our members.
1. Raising the profile of internal audit
The publication of our Financial Services Code in July 2013 significantly enhanced the reputation of the institute and the profession, something that has been demonstrated through post-implementation follow-up surveys. Furthermore, the Code heralded the start of a successful three-year period of thought leadership on issues varying from whistleblowing to non-financial reporting; the period also finished on a high with the publication of our second report on the auditing of culture.
Throughout, our policy work has boosted the profile of both internal audit and the profession, from praise for the Financial Services Code from the Bank of England to our work with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) on culture. Regulators and key stakeholders are increasingly aware of the role of internal audit and look to the profession and the institute for thoughts on some of the pressing issues in corporate governance today.
This has been reflected in our increased media profile, with 2013-2016 seeing the institute receive frequent media coverage in major titles including the Financial Times, The Times and The Guardian.
2. Developing the competence of internal auditors
One of the major developments of the past three years has been the launch of a new global qualifications suite with the introduction of the Certificate in Internal Audit Practice (CIA) and Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership (QIAL) in the UK and Ireland, whilst retaining the status of Chartered Internal Auditor (CMIIA). Members and employers demanded more flexible and globally recognised qualifications, and we responded. Early results have been positive: the institute received 384 CIA enrolments in the 2015-16 period.
Separately, the growth witnessed in the institute’s offering of EQA services in the last three years is an exciting and promising development. Having completed over 70 EQA reviews in the previous period, there is major potential to build upon our delivery of EQAs and develop the provision of benchmarking services, further helping to develop the competence of the profession.
3. Engaging with key stakeholders
The success of the Leaders’ Forum over the past three years was a major success for the institute in terms of our engagement with key stakeholders. The forum allows some of the leading names in internal audit in the UK and Ireland to engage directly with us on policy issues, and there is much exciting potential in the format.
In addition, the production of ten papers in a new series of ‘Audit Committee Briefings’, sent to audit committee chairs of leading FTSE companies and indirectly disseminated via other institutes and the professional firms’ networks, saw our policy work and thought leadership reach a range of important external stakeholders.
4. Growing membership and member engagement
The 2013-2016 period witnessed solid growth in our membership numbers, growing by over 16 per cent to more than 9,300 members. In the same period, our chartered membership grew by 10 per cent to 2,218 members. These results are a strong indicator of our success in meeting the needs of the profession.
Successful initiatives, including three annual recruitment campaigns and targeted group schemes, have supported us in achieving this growth, and we will continue to innovate in this area as we aim to increase membership to more than 10,000 members by 2019.
Looking to the future, in 2016-2019, we will work to ensure that IIA members are better served through activities aimed at specific sector interests, such as specialised events, training and the development of technical resources. For the public sector in particular, we want to increase our engagement with leaders of the profession to enhance our policy and influence agenda.
5. Generating income
Financially, 2013-2016 saw many successes for the institute. Particular highlights include 30 per cent growth in training course revenue and a significant increase in sponsorship income over three years. We have also seen growth in our EQA services, delivered successful annual conferences in 2013 and 2015, and hosted over 2,000 delegates at the 2014 IIA Global International conference.
6. Optimising service delivery
The core implementation of the database system has been one of the key drivers in delivering a range of member benefits at the institute, including direct debit payments for membership and online training bookings. Combined with a refreshed website, the institute is now well placed to continue development in this area and further optimise service delivery.