The internal audit function has evolved significantly over the past few decades. From a traditional compliance-focused function, it has transformed into a strategic partner that provides insights and assurance to help organizations achieve their objectives. In this blog post, we will discuss the future of internal audit and how it will continue to evolve in response to changing business environments and emerging risks.

1. Embracing Technology

The use of technology has become increasingly important in the internal audit function. Technology can help automate routine tasks and provide insights into large datasets, enabling internal auditors to focus on more strategic activities. In the future, internal audit functions are likely to invest in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to improve their processes and enhance the quality of their insights.

2. A More Collaborative Approach

The internal audit function is expected to work more closely with other functions within the organization to provide more comprehensive insights and recommendations. This includes working closely with risk management, compliance, and IT functions to provide integrated assurance and risk management services. Collaboration can also help internal audit functions identify emerging risks early and provide timely recommendations to mitigate these risks.

3. Focus on Emerging Risks

The business environment is constantly evolving, and new risks are emerging all the time. In the future, internal audit functions will need to be more proactive in identifying and assessing emerging risks to provide assurance and insights to the organization. This includes keeping abreast of new technologies, regulatory changes, geopolitical risks, and other emerging risks that could impact the organization’s objectives.

4. Enhanced Data Analytics Capabilities

Data analytics has become a critical tool for internal auditors. It helps auditors identify anomalies and patterns in large datasets, enabling them to provide more insights to the organization. In the future, internal audit functions will need to enhance their data analytics capabilities to keep pace with the growing volume and complexity of data.

5. Increased Focus on Soft Skills

While technical skills are essential, internal auditors will also need to develop their soft skills to be effective in the future. This includes communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.

Internal auditors will need to be able to communicate effectively with stakeholders, build relationships, and provide recommendations that are practical and actionable.

In conclusion, the future of internal audit is exciting, with new technologies, evolving risks, and changing business environments. Internal auditors will need to embrace these changes and develop new skills to provide valuable insights and assurance to the organization. By focusing on technology, collaboration, emerging risks, data analytics, and soft skills, internal audit functions can continue to add value to the organization and play a critical role in achieving its objectives.