KUALA LUMPUR: Internal auditors must embrace technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and advanced analytics to stay relevant, attendees of a conference hosted by the Institute of Internal Auditors Malaysia (IIA Malaysia) was told yesterday.
IIA Global chairman Naohiro Mouri said for a business to remain competitive, it must first adapt to rapid technological advancements.
“The next step is to synergise technology with the business to educate the audit committees and board members, to thereon improve the oversight of internal audit functions.
“With technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and advanced analytics having a direct impact on internal audit, there is an urgent need to address an increasing gap in technology skills in the internal audit profession and prepare them (practitioners) for the technology-driven business environment,” he added.
Mouri was speaking at the Asian Confederation of Institutes of Internal Auditors (ACIIA) Conference 2018 themed Staying Relevant in a Digital Landscape.
The conference chairman Philip Satish Rao said internal auditors must keep up with more businesses taking the digitalisation route.
“Being digital is the way businesses are moving forward, and if internal auditors do not change the [ways their audits are conducted] to reflect the changing digital landscape, then they would probably be irrelevant.
“To stay relevant and safeguard the eminent role of the profession, internal auditors of today and tomorrow must be digital-savvy and technically competent to manage digital risks and provide valuable insights into organisations,” he said at a news conference held in conjunction with the event yesterday.
Mouri said internal auditors’ roles and responsibilities would not change, but their methodologies must adapt to meet today’s technology-savvy consumers’ needs such as doing daily banking and purchasing goods online.
“If we do not audit these [online] processes or if we don’t understand them, we become irrelevant. It’s about us changing the ways we do things. What we (internal auditors) do does not really change; we continue to audit and provide assurance, insight and advice. But how we actually [conduct an] audit is going to change.”
IIA Malaysia president Alan Chang Kong Chong said in Malaysia, it is still a work-in-progress for internal auditors to go digital.
“In Malaysia, businesses adopting technology is still ongoing. So for internal auditors, it is a journey [in embracing technological changes]. However, internal auditors must be mindful about the tools, techniques and solutions available,” he said.
The two-day event is the largest ACIIA conference to date, with over 1,200 participants including policymakers, industry leaders, board members and internal audit professionals from across the region.
Notable speakers include former cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, former auditor-general Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.