In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 snowballed from a health crisis in one corner of the globe, to a full-scale pandemic that disrupted business operations, revenues, supply chains, and labor markets worldwide. Many internal audit plans that had been neatly laid out for the year suddenly had to be paused, changed, and in some cases, completely redeﬁned.
A fresh set of audit priorities emerged, centered on health and safety, crisis management, operational resilience, and business continuity. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. As the pandemic unfolded, other risks such as cyber-attacks and internal fraud rose to the top of the audit agenda.
To ﬁnd out, we surveyed internal auditors from across industries and countries. The objective was to understand how prepared internal auditors are to help their organizations recover from the ongoing crisis, and model a holistic audit program that drives insight and action.
The key areas tackled in the survey were:
Impact of COVID-19 on Internal Auditing:
Nearly 70% of auditors have had to change their plans and reprioritize audit activities to address the new risks arising from the pandemic. Twelve percent either increased their audit scope or team capacity, while fifteen percent deployed new solutions to improve eﬃciency.
Audit Tools and Technologies
Internal auditors are leveraging technology in diﬀerent ways. Most are using it to conduct ﬁeld work, or to create audit plans. Others are applying it to enhance risk assessments, audit scheduling, issue documentation, follow-up, and reporting. Over a third have gone beyond the traditional applications of audit technology and are experimenting with data analytics and visualization. These innovative tools make remote auditing and continuous monitoring easier. They also improve decision-making by providing a wider perspective on risks, challenges, and uncertainties at multiple levels.