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IIA Seeks to Raise Bar on Internal Audit Practices

Tammy Whitehouse | February 2, 2016

The Institute of Internal Auditors is proposing a change to its professional practice standards to give internal auditors some new guidance in light of evolving business demands.

The IIA says the proposed changes are focused on enhancing existing standards on communications and quality assurance, and creating new standards addressing objectivity in assurance and consulting roles. In addition, proposed changes address new roles internal audit functions are taking on in many internal audit shops.

The proposed changes, for example, advise chief audit executives that they must take measures to safeguard their independence and objectivity if they are required to take on roles or responsibilities that fall outside the traditional scope of internal audit. Such safeguards “may include such activities as periodically evaluating reporting lines and responsibilities, and developing alternative processes to obtain assurance related to the areas of additional responsibility,” the proposal says.

The changes also advise chief audit activities they may rely on the work of other assurance and consulting service providers, but they need a consistent process for the basis of reliance and a good dose of assurance on the competency, objectivity, and professional care of the consultants doing the work. “Where reliance is placed on the work of others, the chief audit executive is still accountable and responsible for ensuring adequate support for conclusions and opinions reached by the internal audit activity,” the proposal says.

Another objective of the proposed change in standards is to align existing standards to a new set of core principles incorporated earlier into the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF). The IPPF update in 2015 established a new mission and 10 core principles for the practice of internal audit that were meant to help internal audit professionals raise their game in the face of growing business demands.

Chambers-Richard-0814“The demands on internal audit are evolving rapidly,” said IIA President and CEO Richard Chambers in a statement. “We indicated last year that the changes to the IPPF would require related updates to the Standards. The comment period on these proposed changes is the first step toward completing that update.”

The IIA is asking for comments on its proposed changes via an online survey available to members worldwide, regulators, and other key stakeholders of the internal audit profession. The IIA will review comments and make any necessary changes to the proposed revisions, with a goal of approving final changes in the third quarter. They would become effective Jan. 1, 2017.