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Building a Better Auditor: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2023

Blogs ​Robert Perez Dec 20, 2023

It’s not surprising that’s top 10 blog posts of 2023 focused on elevating the profession. From exploring the benefits of strategic planning to leveraging intuition, practitioners around the world gravitated toward posts designed to help them do better.

Yet, the two most-read posts focused on the year’s biggest disruptor — artificial intelligence (AI).

The top blog post in 2023, from Alex Rusate, CIA, CRMA, CCSA, examines the potential for AI to transform the profession. In AI in 'IA', Rusate, a senior internal auditor at New York Independent System Operator, Inc., discusses ways internal audit might leverage the power of generative AI, such as ChatGPT. He also offers some caveats regarding related privacy concerns. Did we mention he used ChatGPT to co-write the blog post?

The second most-popular post also looks at the overnight AI sensation. In The Potential, and Perils, of ChatGPT, Irena Ostojic, CIA, an auditor at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna, analyzes ChatGPT’s potential uses in planning and risk assessment, engagement planning, fieldwork, reporting, recommendations, and follow-up. Her closing message recommends an urgent, if cautious, approach. “As the saying goes, ‘We will not be replaced by AI, but by people using AI.’”

So, what happens when an audit turns up no observations? Tahsinur Rahim, CIA, CRMA, and head of audit and compliance at Guardian Life Insurance Limited in Dhaka, Bangladesh, asks and answers that uncomfortable question in the third-most-popular blog post of 2023. In Beyond the Findings, Rahim offers a list of rechecks practitioners should consider to ensure an audit's comprehensiveness.

Comprehensive audits are clearly important — what may be less obvious is the need for internal audit strategic planning. Noora Al Marri, CIA, examines this concept in the year’s fourth-most-read blog post, Why Internal Audit Needs a Strategic Plan. Just as risks and organizations evolve, so must internal audit’s strategy for providing assurance on risk management. Al Marri, senior director of Ooredoo Group Internal Audit in Qatar, captures her key message by asking, “How can I deliver on the internal audit mission . . . when the things around me evolve — but I don’t?”  

Technology and internal auditing complexities weren’t the only popular blog topics. The number five most-read blog post gets back to basics. In Patterns in Fraud, Mohamed Tarek El Gabry observes that a lack of financial materiality often leads to absent internal controls, and that is an invitation to fraud. El Gabry, a group senior internal auditor for Elsewedy Electric in Cairo, warns that focusing solely on materiality can lead to ignoring the potential for small frauds that lead to big losses.

Remote auditing drew some surprisingly passionate positions. In Get Off My Lawn! Voices stalwart blogger Mike Jacka laments the practice’s growing acceptance and concludes, “Remote auditing does not work.” That prompted a contrary view from David Hill, CIA, CMII, whose rebuttal came in as the sixth-most-read blog post of 2023.

Hill’s post, In Defense of Remote Auditing,  argues that technology and innovation can overcome the loss of in-person auditing and its related benefits. What’s more, Hill, CEO of SWAP Internal Audit Services based in Weymouth, U.K., notes that improved work-life balance, lower costs, higher productivity, access to a larger talent pool, and environmental benefits easily outweigh any losses.

In Cultivating ‘Dots’ to Connect, David Dufek, CIA, CFE, urges practitioners to invest in self-development in order to build up a store of experiences. Dufek, vice president and chief internal auditor for Principal in Des Moines, Iowa, quotes Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward." Dufek interprets this to mean, “before making connections, we must first ensure we have a wealth of experiences, or ‘dots,’ to draw from.”

The eighth most-read blog post also looks at how broadening our experiences can feed insight. In Intuition in Auditing, David J. O'Regan, LittD, auditor general for the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C., describes how the thrill of intuition sometimes leads us out of our thorniest dilemmas: “Somewhere below the threshold of consciousness, knowledge coalesces with experience to provide you with a spontaneous shortcut to the problem’s solution.”

In the year’s ninth most-read blog post, Larry Kowlessar, CRMA, provides an eloquent endorsement of internal audit as a pillar of good governance. The senior internal auditor of the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago provides an inspiring Internal Audit Awareness Month post in The Right Hand of Management.

Rounding out the top 10 is The Building Blocks from Frank Holloman, CIA, CFE. Holloman, an audit director at FedEx Services in Memphis, Tenn., describes four critical steps to building his 25-year internal audit career: CIA certification, involvement in his IIA Chapter, developing business acumen, and networking and relationship building.

Would you like to be in the Top 10 for 2024? Read our blog guidelines and how to submit a blog.

​Robert Perez

Robert Perez is senior manager, Content Development and Delivery, for The IIA in Lake Mary, Fla.