Nearly half (43 percent) of chief audit executives (CAE) say in a new survey they lack access to sufficient talent. Protiviti, the Bay Area consultancy specializing in internal audit, risk and compliance and business processes that fielded the survey, said the shortage is becoming worse just as internal audit is expected to contribute more to organizations navigating increased risk.
While many industries hope intelligent automation will ease the shortage they are facing, internal audit teams polled in the survey say machine learning, AI and automation-related expertise are among their most acute needs. Less than a third (31 percent) of CAEs indicate they have access to people with these special skills that include process mining and automation in addition to dynamic risk assessment, continuous monitoring and assurance.
“The gaps in internal audit talent and technology maturity are closely related,” said Angelo Poulikakos, a managing director with Protiviti and global leader of the firm’s Technology Audit and Advisory practice. “Difficulties in recruiting and retaining people with technology skills are impeding the internal audit function’s ability to innovate and deliver greater value to its stakeholders. Working through these challenges requires creativity, commitment, persistence and widespread support, and will fortify the internal audit function’s relevance in the eyes of the board, the C-suite and the rest of the business.”
Other key findings of the survey include more than a third (36 percent) of CAEs and directors of auditing who identified rising cost of wages as a top concern. Slightly less (34 percent) noted the challenges of building and maintaining a culture focused on delivering relevance and value amid hybrid and remote working models.