SOURCE: The Institute of Internal Auditors

July 09, 2007 08:00 ET

Global Study Reveals Internal Audit Standardization and Growing Impact on Organizational Governance

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS--(Marketwire - July 9, 2007) - Although at various stages of maturity in diverse cultures, the practice of internal auditing is becoming more standardized throughout the world and is predicted to expand its role in organizational governance and risk management. These two significant findings are among the preliminary results of the most comprehensive global study ever conducted on the internal audit profession. Released today from The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) international conference in Amsterdam, the results of the study will populate the profession's "Common Body of Knowledge" (CBOK), which will be updated regularly by The IIA Research Foundation (IIARF) in response to the profession's unprecedented growth. To view a short video, click here:

At the core of the study results: a majority (82 percent) of internal auditors are following (at least partly, if not entirely) the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards); internal auditors will work more in the areas of risk management and governance (80 percent and 63 percent, respectively); and internal audit activities are perceived as effective and adding value to their organizations (mean of responses above 4, on scale of 1 through 5).

"Because the internal audit activity usually is directed by an oversight body such as the board of directors' audit committee, this high percentage of adherence to the Standards points toward the business world's growing recognition of internal auditing's value to good governance," says Roderick Winters, CIA, president of The IIARF and general auditor for Microsoft Corporation. "We now have an accurate view of the profession within various cultures and as a whole, which will serve as a baseline for understanding how the internal audit profession will evolve in the future, further impacting organizations and their stakeholders."

Commissioned by The IIARF, the CBOK study was conducted by 15 researchers from around the world, in 17 languages, with the participation of more than 9,300 internal auditors in 91 countries. A comprehensive report on the complete findings will be published in October, further analyzing the data on various cultures throughout the world. To be repeated every three years, the CBOK study will help The IIA provide up-to-date and relevant guidance for the profession on an ongoing basis.

The preliminary results also indicated: the majority of internal audit functions now in existence were established within the past five years; there is a prevalence of laws and regulations that currently affect the profession and more are expected to be established in the future; internal audit engagements commonly are based on an organization's greatest risks; and risk analysis and business skills, confidentiality, objectivity, and ethics are attributes critical to internal auditors.

"The internal audit profession is self-regulated. As such, it's amazing that practitioners all around the world have agreed upon and are voluntarily adhering to the core tenants of internal audit professionalism and globally acknowledged best practices," says Priscilla A. Burnaby, Ph.D., CPA, one of the study's lead researchers. "By clearly defining where the profession is and where it's headed, the CBOK study will ensure that internal auditing remains vibrant and relevant and continues to bring value to organizations and society as a whole."

With more than 140,000 members from 165 countries, The IIA is the global voice, acknowledged leader, recognized authority, and professional association for internal auditors around the world. The IIARF creates and disseminates resources designed to understand, guide, and shape the future of the internal audit profession.

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