Audit Execs Cite Staff Shortages

Audit executives say they are hampered by a shortage of competent internal audit staff.

In a new survey of internal auditors, 70 percent said difficulty hiring competent staff was their biggest business challenge. Another 60 percent cited complex IT infrastructures.

The survey of 858 senior audit professionals was conducted by ACL Services Ltd. and the Institute of Internal Auditors. ACL — which provides business-assurance analytics to financial executives, compliance professionals, and auditors — and the IIA say the survey demonstrates that auditors view the adoption of continuous monitoring and auditing technology as an important solution to many of the problems identified.

The two organizations point to the fact that a whopping 90 percent of audit executives surveyed believe their organizations should automate the testing of their internal controls (continuous monitoring) at the management and business-process owner level.

Continuous auditing — testing internal controls at the audit level — also scored as a top priority, with 75 percent reporting they have implemented, or have plans to implement, this approach in key business processes in the next year.

The survey’s authors also note that of the 20 percent of companies that do not plan to implement continuous auditing, respondents cited insufficient resources, shortage of qualified technical audit staff, and lack of management buy-in as the top reasons they are unable to proceed at this time.

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