Internal auditors are on the front lines of pushing organizations to do the right thing

PODCAST

Interview by Joseph McCafferty

September 7, 2016

It's not often that you hear about auditors and accountants in the same breath as aid workers, healthcare providers, or charity workers. Indeed, you won't find internal audit on Forbes' list of the 25 Most Meaningful Professions. And yet, internal audit can be a force for good. In their role of assuring systems are in place to prevent fraud and corruption, internal auditors can help organizations, especially public entities, fulfill their mission and help solve the problems the world faces. It's a grandiose idea, to be sure, but not an inaccurate one.

Keep reading...

A new approach to marketing and media audits can provide improvement to the bottom line

By Angela Saferite

September 6, 2016

Cash rebates, free media inventory rebates, mark ups from 30 to 90 percent, dual rate cards, and non-transparent business practices are all things that can keep senior audit managers and audit committee members of the board awake at night.

Unfortunately, the Association of National Advertisers noted all of these as areas of concern in the 58 page Media Transparency Study it released in June. The study was conducted by K2 Intelligence and a follow up publication by Ebiquity, released in July, outlines business practices and controls advertisers should have in place to better manage media spend in the U.S. market. The K2 report should be used by all advertisers "as a catalyst to rethink their approach to media."

Read more ...

Sticking your neck out to fight corruption and fraud is part of the job

By Joseph McCafferty

August 31, 2016

For the last few years we've been hearing about the skills and traits needed for good internal auditors. The lists generally include things like communication skills, critical thinking, IT savvy, and business acumen. Add one more to the list: "courage."

Earlier this month, I spent a week in Ghana attending MISTI's Audit, Risk, and Governance Africa conference. During the week I met several internal auditors at both government and private organizations from around the continent. Not surprisingly, they talked about much of the same things that internal auditors are concerned about here in the United States—the need to move into non-traditional areas of auditing, partnering more with the business to add value, and leveraging technology and data analytics.

Keep reading...

Good employee engagement and retention strategies foster inclusion and open communication

By Stefanie Diaz Thibeault, CPA, CIA

August 31, 2016

It's hard to justify recruiting great talent, investing in training, and passing on company knowledge, only to find that those recruits eventually leave for competitors because they didn't feel engaged. It's a story we've heard before. People want to work where they feel like they can succeed and contribute in valuable ways. Surprisingly to some, pay is less important than factors such as opportunities for advancement, development, and recognition.

So, what do we do?

Read more ...

Award puts the agency over the $100 million mark in awards paid

August 30, 2016

The Securities and Exchange Commission has awarded more than $22 million to a whistleblower this week, putting the agency over $100 million in total whistleblower bounties awarded since the program was established in February 2011 under the Dodd-Frank Act.

The $22 million-plus award is the second-largest total the SEC has paid to a whistleblower. The Commission said the award went to an unnamed company insider, "whose detailed tip and extensive assistance helped the agency halt a well-hidden fraud at the company where the whistleblower worked." The largest award, $30 million, was paid out in 2014 also to an anonymous tipster.

Keep reading...

A good risk culture is about accountability and ownership

By Joseph McCafferty

August 24, 2016

Everyone knows that culture is set at the highest levels of the organization. We may all be tired of hearing about "tone at the top," but it's never been more important. Apart from influencing the culture of the organization as a whole, executives—especially the CEO—have a big role to play in setting the risk culture.

During the Audit, Risk, and Governance Africa conference early this month in Accra, Ghana, Andrew Smuts, head of internal audit and enabling functions at Standard Bank Group, discussed the central points in setting the risk culture at the organization, including tone at the top, risk appetite, and how the risk plan is communicated to the organization.

Keep reading...

Managing a small audit department is an exercise is stretching the buck

An interview with Joel F. Kramer

August 24, 2016

Managing a small audit department is never easy. Covering a seemingly endless stream of risks with limited resources can be trying for any audit leader. Small audit department leaders must become experts in time management, stretching the budget, and focusing on what matters.

In this first installment of our new series, "MISTI on Audit," Joel F. Kramer, vice president of internal audit curriculum at MIS Training Institute, offers some advice for leaders of small audit departments on how to get the most out of a small team and a small budget.

Keep reading...

Internal auditors face an uphill climb when it comes to auditing corporate culture

By Joseph McCafferty

August 20, 2016

The Financial Crisis of 2008 cemented what many risk management experts have known for years: You can have an army of risk managers and all the sophisticated risk-management models and tools you like, but if there is something wrong with the culture of the organization and what we all now call the “tone at the top,” they won’t work. That was clear at Bear Stearns and that was clear at Lehman Brothers.

Since then, risk managers, internal audit leaders, and governance gurus have tried make a stronger connection between culture and tone and risk management. What was once thought to be a squishy art better left to the feel-good folks in the human resources department is slowly becoming a hard science with monitoring, measures and metrics, and an emerging literature and research.

Keep reading...

The success of internal audit is tied tightly to the backing it gets from the audit committee

By Jami Harris Shine

August 17, 2016

The role of internal audit in organizations is rapidly expanding as auditors move from being rule enforcers and compliance police to trusted advisors. Audit departments are being asked to audit culture, corporate strategy, and governance functions and are increasingly being consulted on key projects and business decisions.

It's common, however, for internal auditors to face pressure to remove, deescalate, or change audit recommendations or results. According to the Institute of Internal Auditors' 2015 CBOK global practitioner study, about 30 percent of internal auditors surveyed said they were pressured to suppress or modify their findings. This statistic may be underreported since it does not include the respondents who selected "prefer not to answer."

Read more ...

The guy crawling through a dumpster in the company parking lot could be just as damaging as a malicious bot crawling through your server

By Joseph McCafferty

August 17, 2016

Mention "cyber-threat" and many of us envision an over-caffeinated twenty something in a hoodie tapping away on a keyboard as he snoops into our networks from the poorly lit back room of some run-down apartment thousands of miles awayin a country like Russia or Chinastealing customer credit card details and other sensitive data.

We can be forgiven for the typecast visualization. Just type "hacker" into google and select "images" and your screen will quickly fill with hundreds of examples of that very same vision.

Keep reading...

SEC rules that provisions discouraging current or former employees from raising concerns violate securities law

By Joseph McCafferty

August 16, 2016

Companies might want to review their severance agreements and other employment contracts in light of a recent Securities and Exchange Commission ruling. The SEC is taking issue with language that discourages employees or former employees from raising concerns about wrongdoing to its whistleblower office.

This week the SEC hit California-based health insurance provider Health Net with a $340,000 fine for illegally using severance agreements requiring outgoing employees to waive their ability to obtain monetary awards from the SEC's whistleblower program.

Keep reading...

Good audit planning is essential to audit success and can yield improved results

By Wade Brylow

August 15, 2016

After 25 years in internal audit, I have come to the conclusion that excellent audit planning is essential to ensuring an effective audit. What is a successful audit? A good measure is whether both audit management and the auditee feel good about the end results.

Benjamin Franklin famously said: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Indeed, one of the most common causes of unsuccessful audits is inadequate planning. Too often, audit staff commitments to current engagements become an obstacle to planning the next engagement. I would submit that delaying an audit is preferable to not investing the proper amount of time into planning for it.

Read more ...

A new report finds most internal audit shops aren't very advanced when it comes to data analytics

By Joseph McCafferty

August 10, 2016

Data analytics is supposed to be the great savior of the internal audit function. It has been heralded as the set of tools that will give organizations new insights into risk management, fraud, and corruption. It would free up internal auditors to use their skills on assessing non-traditional areas of the business and lower the cost of internal audit. It would change the internal audit profession entirely.

Here's the catch: most companies are still not very advanced in their use of data analytics. A new report out from Deloitte finds most companies are barely off the ground with the use of analytics and some haven't even started. "The use of analytics is largely at basic levels," the report's authors write.

Keep reading...

Internal auditors in Africa discuss the needed attributes of internal audit now and into the future

By Joseph McCafferty

August 10, 2016

One of the big themes of the Audit, Risk and Governance Africa conference held by MIS Training Institute in Accra, Ghana last week was how to position internal audit for the future and how to ensure that the function continues to add value in the organization and remain relevant.

In many ways, these challenges are similar to those that internal audit faces in developing nations, and many of the solutions are similar to those that internal auditors are emphasizing worldwide: better communication, a larger advisory role, and a more nimble approach to internal audit. Yet, the unique challenges that internal auditors face in Africa, including increased corruption and greater political uncertainly, only heighten the need to position internal audit as leaders in the organization.

Keep reading...

FASB mulls future accounting projects as the post-convergence era of standards updates begins

By Joseph McCafferty

August 10, 2016

The top U.S. accounting rulemaker is looking for more input on what projects it should tackle over the next few years as it moves into the post-convergence era of accounting rulemaking.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board issued an "Invitation to Comment" to solicit feedback about potential financial accounting and reporting topics that FASB should consider adding to its agenda. "The invitation to comment is an important opportunity for stakeholders to help the FASB set its agenda for the next several years," FASB said in a statement.

Keep reading...

Audit leaders in Africa voice frustration at the difficulty of bringing corruption to light

By Joseph McCafferty

August 3, 2016

It's not easy to be an internal auditor at a public entity in Africa. "It takes a lot of bravery," said Graham Joscelyne, chair of the audit and ethics committee at the Global Fund to Fight Aids.

Joscelyne moderated a panel of auditors and former auditors of public entities and governments at the Audit, Risk, and Governance Africa conference being held this week in Accra, Ghana. The panelists, including Ludovick Utouh, former controller and auditor general at WAJIBU – Institute of Public Accountability in Tanzania, expressed frustration at the slow pace of progress for government services in Africa and the many obstacles to bringing corruption at public entities to light.

Keep reading...

Internal auditors are increasingly taking a closer look at the company's social media strategy

By Karen Kroll

August 3, 2016

Social media sites are becoming a bigger part of most companies' plans to connect with customers and other stakeholders. And while sites like Twitter and Facebook can be powerful marketing tools, they are also fraught with risks. Now internal audit departments are taking a closer look at those risks and the controls companies are instituting to manage them.

That's because social media is quickly becoming integral to how people and organizations communicate. More than one billion people log onto Facebook daily. Twitter has 310 million active users. Coca Cola has 1.3 million followers on Instagram, and the 235,280 subscribers to the YouTube channel of home improvement retailer Lowe's have logged more than 100 million views.

Keep reading...

By H. David Kotz

August 2, 2016

In December 2007, I was appointed as the Inspector General of the Securities and Exchange Commission and served in that capacity until January 2012.  An IG is an internal watchdog for a governmental body with its primary purpose being to identify and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the agency.  IGs supervise both internal audit and investigative units.

Read more ...

LAN Airlines made illegal payments to a third party to attempt to settle a labor dispute

By Joseph McCafferty

July 29, 2016

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged South American-based LAN Airlines with making illegal payments to attempt to settle a labor dispute, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The airline has agreed to pay more than $22 million to settle parallel civil and criminal cases related to improper payments it authorized during a dispute between the airline and its union employees in Argentina.

The SEC's investigation found that when LAN encountered problems negotiating labor agreements with the unions, it was contacted by a consultant from Argentina who offered to negotiate on the company's behalf.

Keep reading...

Survey finds chief audit executives are concerned about talent gap, meeting stakeholder expectations

By Joseph McCafferty

July 27, 2016

What keeps internal audit executives up at night? Plenty, according to a recent survey of chief audit executives conducted by Deloitte.

A survey by the Big Four audit firm finds that a startling number of audit leaders are concerned about the skills and expertise their teams have to deliver on stakeholder expectations for efficient audits, insightful reports, and effective decision-support in the years ahead. CAEs recognize that internal audit groups need to change, but many struggle with how to achieve that change, according to Deloitte Global's new report, "Evolution or irrelevance? Internal Audit at a crossroads."

Keep reading...

Event Search

Download Catalog Dark Blue 300x58

Subscribe to Newsletter LightBlue 2 300x58

Register Cloud Security eSummit 300x58

MIS|TI Tweets

ACL MISTI Grey 300x58

Please choose your region

Submit
Select a Region
United States
United Kingdom/Ireland
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East

By continuing to use misti.com you will be agreeing to the website Terms and Conditions, the Privacy Policy, and the Use of cookies while using the website.