Audit leaders need to be alert to cultural issues across all audit engagements; one such aspect is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
The Chartered Institute asked two senior members of RSM about the role of internal audit in DEI - Mark Jones, Partner and Head of Internal Audit Services (UK) and Liz Wright, Director, Risk Assurance Services.
With experience across a wide variety of sectors, Jones acknowledged that moving beyond basic compliance can be difficult for auditors but that “having a strong diverse culture with inclusion at all levels, is really important.”
He added “That’s when you start to bring diversity and culture into the internal audit remit.”
Key points explored include:
- Related risks to DEI from recruitment, retention and succession planning. Particularly relevant for independent board members (non-executives and trustees) to avoid group think including the removal of traditional barriers such as focusing on strengths-based rather than experience-based selection processes.
- Assurance over the decision-making process and/or board effectiveness, and the insight it lends to DEI in terms of dominance, skill sets, representation, accessibility of information and diversity of thought.
- Systems and processes and whether they’re designed with diversity in mind or just simply put barriers in place.