As May rolled in, the office atmosphere started to buzz with anticipation. Thoughts of warm weather, mastering the fine art of office-chair swivel races, and attempting to beat the record for the longest coffee break dominate the conversation. But there's another important event happening in the shadows, one that might not be as flashy but plays a vital role in the organization: Internal Audit Awareness Month. For those unsung heroes who diligently work behind the scenes, this month is their time to shine and showcase the significance of their role.
Internal Audit Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity for organizations to improve their internal audit processes and strengthen overall governance. In this article, we’ll explore how Cathay Bank leverages this month to enhance its auditing team's effectiveness and shed light on the crucial role an internal auditor plays in organizations.
Internal Audit Awareness Month is an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness about the purpose and benefits of internal audits. Internal audit activity involves assessing an organization's internal control, risk management, and governance processes to provide an independent and objective evaluation of their effectiveness.
During this month, Cathay Bank's Internal Audit team is holding two panel discussions, providing deeper insights into their role, creative ideas, and tips for improving the organization's operations. The bank is also launching a Data Analytics initiative, which helps business process leaders identify transactional patterns and potential risks, optimize processes, and uncover new growth opportunities. This initiative enables the organization to be more agile and maintain its integrity in a rapidly changing world.
There are many ways to leverage this particular month and beyond to help your organization stay ahead of risks. Here are some of the top tips from the Cathay Bank Internal Audit team:
Encourage employees at all levels to participate in Internal Audit Awareness Month by attending panel discussions and asking questions. Develop an intranet website to promote the internal audit function to help business partners understand their roles and responsibilities better. This effort fosters a collaborative environment and reinforces an open-door policy, where teams feel comfortable reaching out to the internal audit team for guidance or assistance.
Internal Audit Awareness Month aims to address misconceptions about internal audits. Some common misunderstandings include the belief that all internal auditors are accountants and focus solely on financial records, or that they are nitpickers or faultfinders. In reality, internal auditors come from diverse backgrounds and address a myriad of issues, including fraud risks, compliance, IT, and cybersecurity. They focus on significant risks, allocating resources effectively to address the most critical concerns.
Many people may become confused about the difference between internal and external audit and may umbrella internal auditors under the same heading as external auditors. The difference lies in the scope and objective. While internal audits focus on evaluating and improving an organization's processes, external audits aim to provide an opinion on the company's financial statements.
For internal auditing to be effective, an organization’s leaders must be open to discussing challenging issues and to taking advantage of opportunities to make necessary improvements. Internal auditors must have an independent reporting line to the highest governing body (e.g., the audit committee of the board of directors), ensuring they have the necessary authority to access all areas of the organization and knowing they will be supported if and when their views differ from those of management.
The role of internal audit is continuously evolving, particularly in light of technological advancements and the increasing complexity of organizational risks. The internal audit skillset has shifted from industry-specific knowledge to a focus on excellent communication and critical thinking abilities. Today's internal auditors need to be proficient in relationship building, negotiation, conflict resolution, presentation, and handling high-level meetings.
As technology advances, internal auditors are also required to have deeper knowledge about their organizations and industries, risk management, and other topics, necessitating additional training and recruitment of internal auditors with diverse skill sets. Technology plays a significant role in enhancing the internal audit function, with tools such as automated work paper management and control testing, continuous risk monitoring, risk-based audit planning and scheduling, knowledge management, data mining and analytics, graphical audit reporting, and issue tracking becoming increasingly important.
Adopting cutting-edge technology allows internal auditors to develop a consolidated, single view of risk while holistically supporting organizational objectives and coordinating governance, risk management, and compliance activities. This approach paves the way for flexible risk-based audit plans and an agile internal audit function aligned with organizational objectives.
Cathay Bank's auditing team comprises members with diverse qualifications and expertise in various fields, such as finance, operations, IT, and engineering. All of our team professionals are revered for their critical thinking and communication skills, as well as their general IT and industry-specific business knowledge.
Our team has adopted a comprehensive risk management framework and utilizes the latest technologies and best practices in their audit work. The main objectives of internal audits at Cathay Bank include identifying risks, evaluating internal controls, and providing recommendations to improve the organization's processes and governance.
Internal Audit Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the importance of internal auditors in ensuring a company's security and stability. Staying proactive, continuously learning, and adopting the latest technologies and best practices are crucial. Cathay Bank's auditing team is well equipped to handle the challenges and risks faced by our organization. Reach out to find more information.
This article does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Although the information contained herein is intended to be accurate, Cathay Bank does not assume liability for loss or damage due to reliance on such information.