Internal Audit as an Auditing and Consulting Function
Internal audit is an instrument that provides strategic assistance for management and is a means of internal control for an organization. Whereas the traditional function of internal audit – providing assurance that operations and processes are being carried out properly – remains as important as ever, internal audit today is also seen as a consulting function. An organization may have its own internal audit department or the function might be completely or partially outsourced. In the latter case, a Chief Audit Executive within the organization has responsibility for coordinating the activities of the service provider.
According to this modern definition, the role of internal audit is to help an organization achieve its goals not only by compiling reports, appraisals and analyses but also by providing consulting services.
The modern concept of auditing goes far beyond simply checking that the accounts have been done properly. Functioning within this new concept requires more than basic internal auditing skills; today’s auditors need to be more highly qualified and broadly experienced than ever. Financial auditors are generally not sufficiently trained to provide this new extended level of service; among other things, we believe that they find it difficult to think beyond the narrower checking role of the auditor.
These days, internal auditing also includes involvement in areas such as asset protection, assessing the efficiency of processes, auditing human resources processes, and much more.
Internal audit also performs an important preventative function in the combating of fraud (economic criminality). In such cases, internal audit evaluates the extent of fraud, determines how it was committed and devises measures to prevent similar cases in the future.