SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

Aberdeen Group

September 09, 2009 10:00 ET

Internal Audit's Next Gig

From Demonstrating Compliance and Corporate Policeman, to Business Enabler and Strategic Advisor, While Saving Hundreds of Thousands per Year

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - September 9, 2009) - An unceasing focus on compliance, combined with an increasing focus on managing risk, has created greater pressure from the Board and heavier workloads on the internal audit function, most of which are still overly reliant on manual and paper-intensive processes. The new report "Beyond Demonstrating Compliance: The Reinvention of Internal Audit" by Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), describes how Best-in-Class organizations are reallocating their internal audit resources to achieve the greatest value-add.

Within the top performers, internal audit functions are working to increase their relevance to the business, by deliberately rebalancing their focus beyond the mere demonstration of compliance with financial processes (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley) towards adding value with respect to other, non-financial processes and risks. Strategies of the leading companies in the study include regular alignment of internal audit plans with the priorities of the business, and better communication of the business value of internal audit to key stakeholders.

"The research shows that internal audit's typical approach is basically 'hit and run,' as a consequence of its heavy workloads and over-reliance on manual and paper-intensive processes. This leaves much of the function's potential added value to the business on the table," said Derek E. Brink, vice president and research fellow for IT Security, Aberdeen Group. "Increased use of technologies for automation; monitoring and tracking; reporting; and identifying, classifying, and prioritizing risk will go a long way towards helping the internal audit function reposition itself from the role of corporate policeman to one of advisor and business enabler in the post-SOX era."

The research shows that automation of issues tracking and escalation, monitoring and testing of controls, and reporting enables faster, more cost-effective execution of must-do tasks, and frees up time and resources to work on more strategic activities. Best-in-Class internal audit departments are more effective and yet save an average of US $400,000 per year in staffing costs alone.

To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, please visit http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=6188.

To view complimentary 30-minute webcasts highlighting findings from this and other Aberdeen research in IT Security and IT GRC, visit http://www.brighttalk.com/channels/1209/view.

For additional access to complimentary Information Technology research, please visit research.aberdeen.com.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

© 2009 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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