Competing priorities: Are CAE and audit committee priorities in sync?

Alignment is key
part of the 2015 Governance, Risk and Compliance Survey [download the PDF]

CAEs must keep their priorities aligned with their key stakeholders

CAEs must keep their priorities aligned with their key stakeholders — management and those charged with corporate governance monitoring and oversight; otherwise, the perception and value of the internal audit function will be diminished. Where priorities conflict, however subtly, these disconnections present opportunities for internal auditors to become more focused and engage audit committee members in productive discussions about organizational priorities. Of course, management needs to be engaged as well.

By helping stakeholders further their respective goals, internal auditors can improve organizational ability to leverage and optimize compliance activities in pursuit of enterprise-wide risk management priorities. The ability to reach this desired state — and to be in a position to add real value to the organization — is currently dependent on getting the most out of compliance activities.

Internal auditors can help their organizations in this respect by improving visibility into financial controls, better allocation of compliance resources (including talent and skill considerations), and greater responsiveness to regulatory demands and remediation needs. If they can help their organizations develop a sustainable process for long-term compliance management and ease stakeholder concerns in the process, internal auditors can then increase their focus on facilitating the value-added operational improvements they view as their next priority and strength.

About the survey

The survey was administered online from November to December 2014. A total of 545 internal audit professionals and audit committee members responded to the survey.

In 2015, we saw survey participants from not-for-profit and government organizations increase from 22% to 33% and 5% to 13% of total respondents, respectively. To ensure the reliability of survey results across all organization types, we conducted a statistical analysis. The sampling error, or amount of variation likely to exist between a sample result and the entire population, was found to be very low at a 95% confidence level. Therefore, this report focuses on questions where responses are statistically significant, regardless of organization type. For more insight into varied perspectives of CAEs from not-for-profit and government organizations, Grant Thornton will publish supplementary industry-focused reports in 2015.

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Back to page 2: Rebalancing priorities
Back to page 1: GRC Survey overview