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Voice of the CEO: Cheers to a Great Year

Blogs Anthony Pugliese, CIA, CPA, CGMA, CITP Dec 21, 2023

As we approach the end of another year, I’d like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate a few of the accomplishments that made 2023 a transformative period for the internal audit profession.

IPPF Evolution: A Historic Reimagining

Any list of highlights must begin with one of the largest projects in The IIA’s history. After more than three years of research, global outreach, and fine-tuning, our new Global Internal Audit Standards have been approved and will be released in early January.

Getting to this point was not easy. Our existing Standards, while robust, were not designed to keep pace with the ever-evolving nature of business and the accelerating pace of change. We launched a global outreach campaign to solicit the input of members, practitioners, educators, standard-setters, and other stakeholders, to ensure that our new Standards reflected the diverse needs of a rapidly evolving profession.

The result is a more flexible framework that can adapt to the unique challenges faced by auditors in different corners of the world, and a more comprehensive set of Standards that will include topic-specific guidance covering important focus areas like cybersecurity. The launch of these new Standards is a historic milestone for our organization and our profession.

MoU With ARABCIIA: Strengthening Global Partnerships

In February, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the newly-formed Arab Confederation of Internal Auditors (ARABCIIA). The MoU stands as a testament to our commitment to fostering global collaboration and is another great example of the #OneIIA approach. This agreement will better enable 10 of our affiliates — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Unite Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and Sudan — to collaborate with one another and with IIA Global on research, events, and translation, as well as facilitate continuous professional education.

This strategic partnership opens new avenues for knowledge exchange, skill development, and collaborative initiatives that will support our shared efforts to grow the internal audit profession.

Regional UAE GAM Conference: A Resounding Success

In November, we held our first-ever Regional GAM event in Abu Dhabi. This milestone reflects our commitment to providing tailored, region-specific insights, and innovative solutions in response to the evolving needs of our diverse membership. We look forward to expanding our Regional GAM events in other markets in 2024 and beyond.

Partnership with ACFE on Fraud

This year we committed to enhanced collaboration with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). Together, we launched a new webinar series and committed to joint research and thought leadership. We look forward to deepening our collaboration in 2024.

Eliminating PCAOB’s Anti-Internal Auditor Language: Advocacy in Action

Late in 2022, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) proposed a new auditing standard, “The Auditor’s Use of Confirmation, and Other Proposed Amendments to PCAOB Standards” that unfairly targeted the integrity of the internal audit profession, claiming that internal auditors may “intercept” or “alter” audit confirmations.

After the new standard was proposed, our Advocacy Team led a robust campaign to galvanize grassroots support from across the internal audit profession. In total, 19 organizations and individuals submitted comment letters supporting the profession, including The Wendy’s Company, Association of College and University Auditors, National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and Grant Thornton, LLP, which helped influence the PCAOB’s thinking. Despite internal auditing being a small piece of the proposal, nearly half of all public comment letters submitted were in support of the internal audit profession.

In September 2023, the PCAOB removed the anti-internal auditor language and further clarified and emphasized the important role that internal auditors play in enhancing the quality of a company’s financial reporting. This outcome was a tremendous win for our profession and a remarkable example of advocacy in action.

Global Risk in Focus Research Series: Pioneering Insights

This year, we proudly introduced the first Global Risk in Focus research suite, offering unprecedented insights into global risks from an internal audit perspective.

Global Risk in Focus surveyed internal audit leaders across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America to get a pulse on the greatest risks impacting their regions. The resulting reports provide practical, data-driven research to help internal auditors and their stakeholders understand the current risk landscape and prepare internal audit plans for the years ahead. With reports developed for each region, internal auditors and their organizations can understand risk in an extraordinary way and raise these risks and their mitigation plans with their boards. Not only can practitioners dig deeper into risks within their regions, but they can also see how these risks are impacting the global business landscape. With this new information, internal auditors will be able to help their organizations navigate the current risk landscape and take steps to be better prepared for future risks.

Vision 2035: Creating Our Future

At a time when the world is evolving faster than ever, we have chosen not to sit back and merely react to change, but rather to be proactive and create our own future.

Earlier this year, the Internal Audit Foundation launched a groundbreaking initiative, Internal Audit: Vision 2035 – Creating our Future Together. This project will help us envision the internal audit profession in 2035, determine how we can elevate the value of internal auditing during that time, and map out the steps we must take to make that future a reality.

Given the rapid pace of change, it is essential for internal auditors to anticipate and adapt to new trends that impact our profession. This project will help us prepare for the future by engaging a global group of experts, volunteers, and stakeholders to address critical questions, such as: What will internal auditing look like in 2035? How will the auditor’s role evolve? And how can we enhance internal auditing’s value? The final report, which we aim to release in mid-2024, will provide comprehensive recommendations for action.

While predicting the future is never easy, this project recognizes the importance of acting today, and is another example of The IIA’s commitment to being proactive in shaping our own destiny.

Strengthening the Pipeline: Student Membership and CIA Market Study

We also made tremendous strides in expanding and strengthening the pipeline of future internal auditors and CIA certification holders.

Last year, we introduced free student memberships in North America, and, over the last year, we saw our NA student membership more than double. We continue to partner with affiliates to expand free student membership where possible around the globe. To further support the next generation of internal audit leaders, we added 14 universities teaching internal audit into our academic network and provided new mentorship opportunities and a robust collection of grants and awards.

Finally, we conducted an extensive CIA Market Study to understand the profession’s expectations and needs for our flagship certification. The goal of this project is to understand which components of the CIA certification and exam must be improved in order to promote growth, maintain relevance, and preserve the CIA as a world-class professional designation. The Professional Certifications Board is evaluating everything from the structure of the CIA exam to opportunities for post-CIA specialization. The end result will be a CIA program that continues to meet the needs of the modern internal auditor and helps you demonstrate professional excellence.

Cheers to a Great Year

These milestones — a small, but impressive sampling of all you’ve made possible this year — demonstrate our firm commitment to creating a vibrant future for The IIA and the internal audit profession.

Through tireless collaboration and commitment, The IIA has experienced tremendous growth — expanding from over 232,000 members last year to over 245,000 members worldwide in 2023. This signifies not only the expansion of our internal audit community, but also highlights the collective passion and commitment propelling our profession forward. Certified as a Great Place to Work, The IIA's achievement acknowledges our dedication to being an excellent employer and putting people first.

As we enter the next year, let us carry the momentum of these achievements forward, fueled by our shared vision and commitment to excellence. Together, we will continue to push boundaries, drive innovation, and shape the future of the internal audit profession.

Thank you for an outstanding year. I wish you and your loved ones a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Anthony Pugliese, CIA, CPA, CGMA, CITP

Anthony Pugliese is president and CEO of The IIA.