Breaking Down Walls: How Internal Auditors Are Shaping Future-Ready Organizations

In an era where the complexity and pace of change are unparalleled, the PwC Global Internal Audit Study 2023 provides a beacon for internal auditors navigating through the intricate landscape of risks and opportunities. This extensive study, drawing insights from a broad spectrum of 4,680 leaders across 81 countries, underscores the evolving role of Internal Audit (IA) functions in shaping organizational resilience and strategic agility.

The study illuminates five pivotal areas where IA can significantly impact organizations, transcending traditional boundaries to explore new horizons of value creation and risk management. It highlights the emergence of a complex risk multiverse, driven by megatrends such as technological advancements, geopolitical shifts, and climate change, emphasizing IA’s unique position to help organizations navigate these challenges with confidence.

A call to action for IA leaders is clear: to maintain relevance, they must deepen their involvement in strategic areas, leveraging their ’superpowers’—a risk and controls mindset, independence, objectivity, and extensive business knowledge. This involves not just safeguarding value but actively contributing to its creation by optimizing business processes, enhancing decision-making, and earning trust from a wide array of stakeholders.

The study also identifies a small, avant-garde group of ‚Pioneers,‘ who exemplify how IA can lead the way in addressing significant risks and engaging with strategic risk areas through innovative and agile methods. These Pioneers showcase the potential of IA to break down silos, foster collaboration across organizational lines, and embrace technology to amplify their impact.

In particular, the rapid evolution of technology, including the acceleration of artificial intelligence, presents both challenges and opportunities for IA. While technology investments have not always delivered expected returns, the next wave of technological advancements offers a crucial window for IA to recalibrate its approach and harness technology’s full potential. This requires a bold vision, the right talent, and a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation.

The PwC study serves as a compelling reminder that the world’s interconnected and dynamic risk landscape demands a proactive and strategic IA function. By embracing the role of a unifying force, enhancing their human ’superpowers,‘ and leveraging technology wisely, IA can help organizations see through walls, find new directions, and thrive amidst uncertainty. As the global landscape continues to evolve rapidly, the insights from this study are not just a roadmap for IA functions but a clarion call for them to be bold, innovative, and indispensable partners in navigating the future.