Garden Route DM’s Internal Audit Unit’s Motto: “Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success”
What Is Internal Auditing?
Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisation’s operations.
Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa
The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Internal Audit Team affiliates with the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa (IIA SA). The IIA SA is part of an international network representing the interests of Internal Auditors worldwide.
As part of this international network, the IIA SA upholds and supports the fundamental principles of the profession – its Code of Ethics, the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) and International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF).
Why International Internal Auditors Month?
The IIA SA encourages its members, chapters and institutes around the world to actively promote internal auditing’s value during the month of May.
Annually, and especially during the month of May, the following misconceptions about the role of an internal auditor, are addressed:
Myth #1: Internal auditors are accountants by training
There is an obvious grain of truth in this myth as an accounting background can be helpful for a career in internal auditing. However, internal auditors commonly address fraud risks, compliance issues, and a myriad of operational issues that are unrelated to accounting, therefore the auditors’ backgrounds are likely to be as diverse as the operations they audit.
A recent survey by IIA SA indicated that executives are now recruiting applicants with analytical/critical thinking ability, data mining skills, business acumen, and information technology skills more frequently than applicants with training in accounting.
Myth #2: Auditors are nit-pickers and fault-finders
At the heart of several jokes about internal auditors is the misperception that internal auditors are dead-set on picking apart processes and ruining the reputations of the people who do the “real work”.
In reality, internal audit’s focus is on major risks rather than on nit-picked issues. Audit resources are limited and when auditors focus too much attention on minor issues, they are limiting the time available for addressing the major risks and controls that are at the heart of the audit.
Any auditor would rather report on major cost savings than a minor error.
Myth #3: It’s best not to tell the auditors anything unless they specifically ask
This myth can be actively damaging, it results in less efficient audits and wastes everyone’s time.
If auditors believe that their clients are purposefully hiding information, whether by omission or commission, they will normally increase the scope of the audit to determine whether other important information has gone unreported.
The purpose of internal auditing is to add value and improve an organisation’s operations, and hiding information is against everyone’s best interests.
Myth #4: Internal auditors select certain audits and use standard checklists
This myth is less true with each passing year. Professional standards require risk-based plans to determine our priorities, both in developing audit plans and in planning individual audits. Obviously some risks justify repeat audits on a regular basis and there are certain types of audits required by regulators (e.g. compliance reviews). But in general, internal auditing has become a dynamic profession that changes as an organisation’s risks change.
Myth #5: Internal audit is the corporate police function
In my opinion, the best auditors are almost always those who create a relationship with audit customers. When an auditor’s behaviour is accusing or aggressive, they are far more likely to be met with resistance rather than when they treat findings as an opportunity to assist in accomplishing objectives and facilitate improvement.
“Changing perceptions takes time but with collaborated efforts, we can break down these stereotypes. Our profession’s image is rapidly improving but more work has to be done to enhance our stakeholders’ understanding of the our profession. Each of us can help to re-shape these myths and misperceptions through sharing pertinent information” said Lufele.
INTERNAL AUDITING = ASSURANCE, INSIGHT AND OBJECTIVITY
Council and management rely on internal auditors for insight and objective assurance, ensuring that existing internal controls are adequate to mitigate the organisation’s risks, governance and risk management processes are optimised. Lastly, internal auditors provide assurance and consultation services to assist the organisation in achieving its goals and strategic objectives as stipulated in the Integrated Development Plan.
Internal auditors have to be well-disciplined in their craft. The GRDM Internal Auditing team embodies this workmanship through a commitment to growth, development and fulfilling their roles and responsibilities effectively. Acting Chief Audit Executive, Ms Pamela Lufele said: “To fulfil our roles effectively, we must be alert about emerging issues and quick to react with long-lasting solutions. My team has business acumen and critical thinking skills required of the job. It’s certainly not easy, but for these skilled and competent professionals, it’s all in a day’s work.”
“Last but not least, we would like to convey our gratitude to the GRDM Council, management and Audit Committee for entrusting us with this great responsibility and for the tremendous support they have afforded us through the years,” said Lufele.
Meet the GRDM Internal Audit Team, fltr: Mr Siphelele Notyhanga (Internal Auditor), Ms Pamela Lufele (Senior Internal Auditor, now Acting Chief Audit Executive) and Ms Mariska Pieterse (Internal Auditor).