By John M. Seeram
IIA Guyana Chapter
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) which is the global voice for the internal auditing profession has identified the month of May as the International Internal Audit Awareness Month.
The IIA Global is in its 76th year of existence and is serving approximately 185,000 members from 190 countries. Guyana became a chapter member of the Latin America and Caribbean region in April 2000, hence this chapter is required to take a stand for professionalism and competency, and is committed to elevating the practice of internal auditing.
Its membership has grown from 15 in 2000 to 96 in 2017, and over the past year its membership had increased by 40. Yes, membership and the resources which it brings, open the door wide to professional growth.
A career in internal auditing today is not the same as a career in internal auditing as little as five years ago. Responsibilities are growing, areas of emphasis are shifting, and technology is rapidly advancing. Hence the Guyana chapter in its development of the internal auditing profession has to recognize these changes.
Guyana chapter’s contributions
In its 17th year of existence under four presidents, this chapter has been making its contributions under the guidance of the IIA Global in the continued growth of this profession.
A notable achievement has been the seminars and workshops it has been conducting on pertinent areas of internal auditing each year. At least three seminars are held each year and they are facilitated by experienced and qualified trainers from Guyana and from overseas, as staff development for auditors. The major objective is to enlighten the participants on the latest techniques and tools they need to acquire in order to improve their skills in the performance of their audits. The thirst for learning is evident by the large numbers who have been, and continue to support the chapter’s seminars.
A key area in which this chapter is required to take the lead is to advocate the use of the IIA’s International Professional Practice Framework (IPPF) which consists of:
- International Standards
- Code of Ethics
- Definition of Internal Audit
- Position Papers
- Practice Advisories
- Practice Guides
All practicing internal auditors are required to have a working knowledge of this IPPF.
Besides conducting seminars, members of this chapter are given the opportunity to attend overseas conferences in order to keep pace with the latest developments, and to interact with colleagues from different types of organisations representing government, industry, and academia. There is the need to constantly be aware of what’s happening in the organisational environment, regulatory environment, and the profession.
This chapter is also responsible for promoting and monitoring the IIA’s seven certification examinations. The major examination is the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA); nine members of this chapter have successfully obtained the CIA designation. There is at present a sizeable group of auditors pursuing this certification of which the chapter has been the main driving force.
Priority areas to focus
At this stage of its development, the local chapter has to intensify its focus on:
(1) Its stakeholders recognizing the role of the chapter in the development of this profession.
(2) Auditors being required to be very familiar with the IPPF in the performance of their duties.
(3) Organisations providing more funds for the training and development of auditors.
(4) Continuing its membership drive.
With regard to (1), there should be a close working relationship with private, public and governmental organizations. For this profession to move forward, there is need for more recognition of both the IIA Global and the local chapter by its stakeholders on the development of this profession.
On (2), practicing internal auditors need to be very familiar with the IIA’s IPPF. The IIA Global has been doing frequent revisions to its standards, the latest took effect on 1 January 2017. They provide a framework for performing and promoting internal audit services, and are essential in meeting the responsibilities of internal auditors and the internal audit activity.
On training at (3) there is a dire need for executive management of private, public and governmental organizations to adequately fund their training and development budgets. Funds are needed for on-the-job training, especially on the international standards, and for attendance to overseas conferences and seminars/workshops, also for the acquisition of books, journals and training materials.
Membership drive at (4) is an ongoing process which is done on an individual and group basis. Members benefit, among others, from continued professional education, and exposure to best auditing practices.
In order to continue the developmental process of this profession, the above mentioned are regarded as priorities in this chapter’s focus.
Lessons to be learnt
Over the past two years, the government had authorized forensic audits on 50 public entities/ministries. The findings, among others, have indicated that there is dire need for Internal Audit Units (IAU) to be in existence and to operate in the expected professional manner.
Some of the entities audited, do have IAUs, however the findings revealed that their performance were not up to the required level. The core problem facing these IAUs is centred on the staff who do not possess the requisite skills and experience to perform. Many of them are not even aware of the IPPF which contains among others, the international standards.
Once these IAUs are in possession of an IPPF, then that framework document should be used for intensive on-the-job training of audit staff. Such training should be undertaken by experienced and qualified trainers who are well acquainted with the practice of internal auditing, and the assistance of the local chapter should be sought.
The way forward from these forensic audits is for there to be adequate IAUs in existence and to perform in the expected professional manner. In so doing, the local chapter has a strategic role in ensuring that the international standards are adhered to.
The local chapter of the IIA Global continues to work tireless and passionately in its pursuit of excellence. A meaningful partnership with its stakeholders can indeed raise the bar for internal audit and ensure the continued relevance of this esteemed profession. Simply put, it is the chapter’s responsibility to shape the perception of internal audit and to elevate the profession to an even higher level with the guidance of IIA Global.
Advice to the new auditors to this profession, is to be open and take advantage with all the opportunities internal auditing has to offer. One of the greatest opportunities is networking, especially with their mentors. Sometimes the best mentors come from outside this profession, such as audit clients, company executives and board members. Each individual brings a unique set of experiences from different stages of their auditing career.
In International Internal Audit Awareness Month – 2017, the local chapter is being recognised for its accomplishments to date. In the next year it is the expectation that the relationship with its various stakeholders will be more visible and be intensified and the audits will be meeting the standards set by IIA Global. In its 76th year of existence, this profession is definitely moving in the right direction globally.