Global consulting firm Protiviti has released its 2021 Next-Generation Internal Audit Survey, finding that most chief audit executives (CAEs) and senior internal audit leaders and their teams are still in the early stages of, or have yet to embark on, their next-gen internal audit journeys.
The benchmarking survey polled 874 executives in Q1 2021, including CAEs and audit managers and directors across industries globally. Highlights from the findings include:
- 66 percent of survey respondents report plans to increase their focus on innovation and transformation initiatives amidst the digital acceleration perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic and as internal audit teams face a more disruptive environment and demands to add value to their organizations.
- Four areas were identified as those of the lowest maturity with respect to next-gen internal audit capabilities across governance, methodology and enabling technology: (1) Machine Learning (ML) & Artificial Intelligence (AI), (2), Process Mining, (3), Automation and (4) Advanced Analytics.
- With the above four areas of lowest maturity considered part of the “enabling technology” function, the survey reveals a clear lack of recognition of the link between effective governance and use of enabling technologies.
- Only 14 percent of respondents identified their internal audit department as a “digital leader” – characterized as reaping benefits of next-gen internal audit practices given their higher reported levels of maturity in governance, methodology and enabling technology.
- 72 percent of “digital leader” organizations report having been well prepared for the shift to a remote working model at the onset of COVID-19, compared to only 51 percent of all other organizations.