Rashidat Olushola Okunlade Writes
The President and Chairman of Council (PCC) of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Dr. Ken Opara has called on internal auditors of banks to embrace technology in discharging their duties as audit experts.
He stated this in Lagos at the annual conference of the Association of the Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN). He said the use of technology in internal audit is no longer controversial, it is the way to go.
Speaking on the theme, “Keeping up with the NextGen in Internal Audit”, Opara said, “The theme, I must remark, is apt and timely. As we all know, the business world is rapidly changing as a result of digitization. The COVID-19 pandemic which ravaged the world in the year 2020 had significant impact on the global economy which led to the accelerated adoption of technological innovation which would have otherwise taken businesses decades to implement”.
Given this development, he said all aspects of businesses were subjected to disruptive innovation, including the internal audit function.
His words, “The emergence of new technologies, changing behaviors of bank customers, changing regulatory requirements, and evolving business models mean that the traditional methods of internal audit may no longer be adequate.
“There are many factors driving the adoption of tech in internal audit including an increase in the volume of data. According to a 2019 report by the ACCA, it is estimated that over 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated since 2016, and significant amounts of it are financial data.
“Other drivers include a shift towards automation and a change in business models as a result of innovation in technology.
“With the increasing use of data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation tools, internal audit professionals must be able to utilize these tools to identify risks and essentially add value to their respective organizations.
However, Opara said the adoption of technology in audit is not without its threats.
“In addition, with increased adoption of technological innovations, businesses should in particular be wary of advanced cyber threats which have significantly increased since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, according to Businesswire, 81 per cent of global organisations experienced increased cyber threats during COVID-19 and 79 per cent of organisations experienced downtime due to cybersecurity risk during peak season.
Secondly, keeping up with NextGen in Internal Audit means, having a deeper understanding of the business domain within which a professional auditor operates.
To be effective, internal auditors, he said, must have a thorough understanding of their organization’s strategy, operations, and risk landscape. This means working closely with other organizational functions, such as Finance, ICT, Risk Management, Compliance, and Operations, to gain a holistic view of the business.
“With this understanding, internal auditors can identify emerging risks and ensure they are adequately addressed. This puts them at an advantage compared to professionals who have not invested time to understand the domain within which they operate”, Opara added.