In May, we salute you, internal auditor

May is International Internal Audit Awareness Month. All month long, The Institute of Internal Auditors is actively promoting internal auditing’s value to the organization and bringing to light the internal auditor’s role and contribution.

If you work in compliance or risk management, you might be thinking, “Good luck with that.” Your experience with internal auditors is they interrupt your department’s work, eat up your people’s time and halt progress toward goals. To make matter worse, audit findings make the entire department look bad and lead to additional work addressing each item on the report.

If you’re a reluctant supporter of internal auditors, this blog is for you. By the time you finish reading it, you’ll know the value of internal audits, welcome the interaction and understand how internal auditors serve your department and support the push toward the company’s goals.

Competitive best
To compete and win in today’s business climate, your company must be its competitive best and turn risk into an advantage. You can’t miss the warning signs with a third party, miss a compliance deadline, fail on a customer’s privacy request or any number of mistakes. Any weakness can be exploited by a key competitor who hears about an incident right away via social media. Next thing you know, you’re under the microscope and management is asking tough questions.

Fortunately, that’s why your organization has internal auditors. They serve as the third line of defense. Internal auditing independently assesses and reports on the work of the other two lines of defense. The first line is the people on the front lines managing risk and complying with regulations and standards. The second is managerial, responsible for oversight of the first line of defense. Auditors, the third line, observe, investigate, analyze and deliver their findings. Internal audits show you precisely what needs addressing to improve processes and be your competitive best.

On the same team
Knowing your internal auditor is focused on operational improvement, and the fact that you both work for the same company can be helpful to feeling like you’re on the same page. It can open your eyes to the value of audits and the insight that findings help achieve competitive best.

Another aspect to consider is internal auditors often do the heavy lifting in advance of external audits. By resolving findings with internal auditors, external audits can go smoother.

Leverage technology
What if you collaborated more with internal auditors, so they could better understand how your department runs? Imagine having more visibility into the audit process and what internal auditors are looking for?

That better-connected world is made possible by technology, specifically a governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) platform that performs integrated risk management (IRM). The right platform integrates all three lines of defense for managing risk. Everything is connected and stored in one location, including controls, policies, procedures, audits, regulations and standards. The platform streamlines the collaboration and documentation required for conducting audits.

Instead of being subjected to audits, you’re an active participant. It’s much easier to be on the same page and to see the value of internal audits using a technology platform.

International Internal Audit Awareness Month is a reminder of the critical role played by internal auditors in organizations. Hopefully, you now know how the internal audit function helps the organization be its competitive best, that you and internal auditors are on the same team, and technology offers a way to unify all three lines of risk management.

Nothing wrong with being nice to your internal auditors either. Or take advantage of Hallmark Business Connections’ line of employee recognition cards to make an internal auditor’s day.

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