Internal Audit Future Trends in Recruitment

Organisations are more aware than ever that natural disasters pose a serious threat to operational resilience. The pandemic and ESG-related concerns and regulations, amongst others, have caused a rapid evolution of business risk over the past 18 months and subsequently has expanded the role of internal audit in scope and practice to better serve businesses in any eventuality. Strains on businesses, processes and controls from prolonged uncertainty have allowed IA functions to home in on business-critical improvements and foster a more agile mindset to annual audit plans. 

In doing so, some interesting trends have emerged in internal audit recruitment that could make a difference to how you hire for and structure your audit function to support your business.

Recruiting internal audit future trends to be aware of:

1. New auditor skills and competencies

The ever-increasing importance of digitising the world of work is being felt across the internal audit profession, with increased pressure on auditors to understand and evaluate the various technologies used by businesses. 

2. Data analytics, AI and automation

Businesses are amassing more data then ever before and implementing data analytics into more and more areas of their enterprise. Whilst this inherently means more potential risks, it also offers internal audit departments a more comprehensive and real-time view ofthe business, internal controls, financial statements and accounting processes. 

AI and automation also offer the potential to automate repetitive tasks for IA departments, offering lower audit costs and faster review times. 

Finding audit professionals who are well versed in leveraging these tools will be vital to further positioning IA functions as supportive arms for businesses that drive insightful decision making.  

3. Stakeholder management skills

Better communication between the C-suite and internal audit is increasing across many leading financial services organisations. As this trend continues, finding IA professionals with exceptional stakeholder management and communication skills will be of critical importance to businesses who want to leverage the opportunities internal audit can present to businesses to stand out, remain relevant, and grow.

4. The rise of information technology audit

The mass move to remote or flexible working has created a swathe of cybersecurity risks for organisations to overcome. Audit professionals need to have a good understanding of the cybersecurity risks a business currently faces to provide advice on the ideal balance of controls, risks exposure, and risk appetite against the business’ needs. This requires vigilance in cyber risk awareness, resilience and cyber risk governance and monitoring, according to Deloitte. Knowledge in the audit implications of cloud migration, cyber incidents, remote working, capacity management is becoming increasingly sought-after in internal audit professionals. 

There is an increased demand for information technology auditors generally, and even smaller companies are starting to bring IT auditors in too as the necessity is felt across the board. However, availability isn’t matching demand, and a talent shortage has become apparent. 

Tips to hire the right audit skills for your organisation

To meet the talent shortage in tech-savvy internal auditors and shore up you’re audit function, we’ve some top tips to help guide you.

1. Look within first

All the top employers are fighting for the same small talent pool of qualified IT auditors. Instead, employers should look to upskill their own auditors in house. This will not only nurture your own team and encourage a lower turnover by investing in their future, it is also more cost-effective, particularly when compared to the cost of engaging Big 4 auditors!

2. Plan ahead

Having a forward-thinking mindset to how you scale your audit function will allow you to implement technology and data skills sets that will be best positioned to handle future, unknown threats and upheavals to operational resilience. Conducting a skills gap analysis of your current audit team could prove beneficial in identifying additional areas, specialisms and skill sets to hire in the future.

3. Engage a specialist recruiter

Engaging a recruiter who specialises in hiring internal audit professionals will ensure you get the right talent to suit your business’ unique risk needs. Recruiters are able to understand your tech stack, operational risks, controls and culture to suggest relevant skills and competencies.

Building your internal audit team with Barclay Simpson

Barclay Simpson is an international recruitment consultancy that specialises in recruiting professionals for the interrelated disciplines of Governance, namely Information/IT Security, Risk, Resilience, Audit, Compliance, Legal and Treasury. When you’re looking to build and secure your organisation for years to come, Barclay Simpson can help you quickly build a technically proficient internal audit function and team. 

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