CHICAGO--()--Chief audit executives (CAE) cite adding ever-greater value within their organizations through the pursuit of more effective practices and seeking out ways to exert greater influence on business strategy as their biggest opportunity and challenge according to Grant Thornton LLP’s third annual CAE survey.
“We’re seeing an increasing number of CAEs trying to shift focus and efforts from their historic compliance-related roles to being more strategic contributors to their organizations”
“We’re seeing an increasing number of CAEs trying to shift focus and efforts from their historic compliance-related roles to being more strategic contributors to their organizations,” said Warren Stippich, a Chicago-based partner and Grant Thornton’s national Governance, Risk and Compliance practice leader. “CAEs, who have a wealth of knowledge about their organizations, are in a really good position to continue down the path of value creation. But, it’s not without its challenges—it requires using technology, being smarter about audit approaches, and getting more involved both at the business unit or process level and the strategic thinking level.”
While CAEs would like their departments to be viewed more as strategic partners, they acknowledge they need to make strides when it comes to delivering business insights. Respondents cite budget constraints (58 percent), talent limitations (51 percent) and image problems (51 percent) as barriers that impede internal audit from delivering greater insights and strategic value.
Asked to rank a number of risk areas based on their potential to impact growth, CAEs cite “execution of strategy” ahead of emerging technologies, data privacy and security, third parties/vendors, fraud/anti-corruption, supply chain, business community and regulation. This result underscores that CAEs are fully aware of the link between strategic risks and business growth, even though they’re not as involved in influencing strategy in their organizations as would be ideal.
Other highlights from the survey include:
- More than half of respondents (51 percent) say they’ve yet to adopt a “one-to-many” approach to streamline compliance testing by which they test once but comply multiple times with various regulatory standards or other mandates—highlighting substantial room for improvement when it comes to leveraging control testing requirements for maximum benefit.
- Internal audit departments remain slow to maximize technology to gain efficiencies, with more than 77 percent of respondents saying they’re still not using a GRC or internal audit-specific tool, representing just a slight increase of respondents (79 percent) adopting these technologies since last year’s survey.
- Data analytics continue to gain in popularity with CAEs, with 66 percent saying they’re taking advantage of this tool; 38 percent are using it for forensic analysis, 32 percent for performance measurement, and 15 percent for predictive analytics—more than doubling usage rates in each of these areas since last year’s survey.
Please visit Grant Thornton’s Chief Audit Executive survey for a copy of the survey findings.
About Grant Thornton LLP’s Chief Audit Executive Survey
The 2013 survey of US chief audit executives aimed to uncover how internal audit is adjusting to the evolving expectations of its role. The survey was administered online and in person during November 2012 through January 2013, with approximately 330 internal audit professionals responding. Respondents came from public and private companies with a wide range of revenues from across the United States. The respondents work in a mix of industries, including professional services, consumer products, technology, health care, not-for-profit and manufacturing.
About Grant Thornton LLP
Grant Thornton LLP is the US member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd. Grant Thornton International Ltd and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership, as each member firm is a separate and distinct legal entity. In the United States, visit Grant Thornton LLP at www.GrantThornton.com.