IAF and AuditBoard Publish Report Assessing Impact of Remote Work

IAF and AuditBoard Publish Report Assessing Impact of Remote Work

Report examines remote work dynamic and shares best practices for sustaining a positive virtual work environment.

LOS ANGELES, CA – December 27, 2021 – The Institute of Internal Auditors’ (IIA’s) Internal Audit Foundation (IAF), in collaboration with AuditBoard, has released a new research report, “The Remote Auditor: Challenges, Opportunities, and New Ways of Working,” which assesses the impact of remote work in the profession, explores the importance of technology in addressing remote work challenges, and shares best practices for remote working and sustaining a positive virtual work environment.

As we approach the third year of the pandemic, the question “when do we return to normal?” has largely been replaced with “how do we capitalize on the lessons learned over the past two years to further empower and support the hybrid workforce moving forward?” The report presents poll and survey results that help assess the impact of remote work on the profession as a means to answer this critical question.

The report cites findings from The IIA’s 2021 North American Pulse of Internal Audit survey, where 58% of chief audit executives (CAEs) indicated their teams were doing all or most of their work remotely and a further 22% said their teams were utilizing a hybrid approach of roughly equal remote and in-person work. This shift to remote and hybrid audit functions has spurred investments in technology.

New survey data collected for the report reveals that since the start of the pandemic, more than half of the respondents’ organizations have acquired cloud-based technology to help with remote collaboration and risk management.

“As fully remote and hybrid work models continue to become more common, an increasing number of audit teams are discovering that modern audit technology can help them better collaborate on their work, more rapidly surface risks, and drastically improve alignment and communication with business stakeholders,” explained John Reese, chief marketing officer at AuditBoard. “In today’s broad and dynamic risk environment it’s imperative for internal audit departments to move in this direction.”

One notable challenge of remote working is the ability to build and maintain relationships with colleagues and audit stakeholders. Leaders must make a conscious effort to schedule formal and informal meetings to ensure connectivity and strong relationships across all levels of the organization.

“Audit functions that had done a couple of things before the pandemic started — including establishing very strong relationships, making good investments in technology, and applying the technology as part of their working methodologies — really had a big advantage when the pandemic hit,” says Harold Silverman, The IIA’s director of executive membership. “What we have seen is that a lot of less mature internal audit functions that learned the lessons from their peers are starting to make some of the same investments, especially with the expectation that remote work will continue.”

Cultivating an adaptive and intentional mindset will enable auditors to take advantage of lessons learned from the shift to remote work. One company noted in the report did just that, reevaluating their processes and refocusing on the highest risks, and the result was a decrease in travel time from 50% to 25% for their auditors, which saved the company time and money.

Going forward, communication skills and analytical and critical thinking are likely to be vital in order to successfully transition from in-person to hybrid or remote auditing.

The complimentary report is available for download here: “The Remote Auditor: Challenges, Opportunities, and New Ways of Working.