In today’s fast-evolving, hypercompetitive environment, management and governance committees are engaging technology audit teams in more strategic initiatives to ensure risks related to the implementation of emerging technologies are adequately addressed. These changes in organizational dynamics have caused stakeholder interests to shift — from viewing Internal Audit as an assurance function to how it can help meet organizational objectives.
Technology audit leaders now need to do more with less and modify their resourcing models to incorporate technology and automation. This has led to innovation becoming a strategic priority for the function, with several initiatives being launched to improve audit effectiveness, quality, and coverage. Many Internal Audit functions are now looking to incorporate audit professionals from diverse backgrounds — technology, analytics, statistics and project management, to enable the free flow of thoughts and ideas that could transform the function. Another key enabler of audit innovation is the adoption of an agile approach to audit.
Agility in a technology audit context also requires agile resourcing within the audit team, directly impacting the audit function’s resilience. It can be impractical, inefficient, and costly for technology audit to encompass an array of highly specialized experts. Many organizations are choosing partnerships with external parties that offer relevant expertise. Bringing agility to technology audits demands the ability to deliver assurance in a timely and flexible manner. Some audit assignments might not require full terms of reference or a long, detailed report, but a short, sharp investigation and concise reporting to help mitigate areas of high risk. Agility means being faster and better at everything you do and leaving behind traditional, outdated approaches that add little value.
For most Internal Audit functions, adopting agile techniques is a gradual evolution of existing methodologies to ensure effective change management and organizational buy-in. The service of an agile coach is usually undertaken to help set up and train the scrum team for a seamless transition into the new operating model. Relevant agile or scrum-related certifications are also provided to team members to enhance their understanding of key agile concepts. Continuous feedback across various stakeholders is sought so that these principles are applied in future audits, along with any best practices.