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There is a great realignment happening in risk assurance these days, and internal audit executives are right in the thick of it. Corporate boards, and the organizations they oversee, are being challenged in new ways as risks proliferate and accelerate—largely thanks to the digital transformation of just about every business process. To best support their organization, internal audit executives also need to realign their own resources—staffing, technology, outside expertise—to execute - assurance strategies.

This 2019 Internal Audit Priorities Report provides a glimpse into how audit leaders and the profession are trying to do that. The report, based on a survey of more than 330 audit executives, across a dozen industries, at organizations large and small, paints a relatively reassuring picture. Most respondents say their teams are stable or growing. Most say they meet or exceed the expectations of their audit committee. Most say they have ample resources for assurance and compliance tasks, and for special projects, too. That’s good news.

Still, benchmarking statistics are most useful when they help audit executives sharpen their thinking about bigger issues—and the internal audit profession has several of those looming over it right now. So this report also tries to explore what those issues are, and how chief audit executives can build an audit function fit for the new risk assurance challenges rapidly approaching.

  • How are internal audit teams responding to cybersecurity issues?
  • How can audit teams become more agile?
  • How do audit teams know they are performing well?

This year’s report also covers all the practical matters, too: CAEs’ satisfaction with budgets and staffing, their plans for talent development, their thoughts on skills and competencies critical for success today. Still, all those practical matters exist within the larger questions mentioned above.


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