Internal Audit 2019 conference insights

If you're not relevant, you're obsolete 

New Chartered IIA President Mark Lenton echoed this phrase from an earlier session as he considers the relevance of audit services a core essential for the profession.

It is a powerful message – and a recurring theme as the Institute’s 2019 Internal Audit Conference held up a mirror to some tough issues while also looking forward with positive ideas and solutions.

In the following piece, we explore key insights from the conference, comprising two days of keynote speeches and expert sessions designed to raise awareness, and challenge thought leadership.

Preventing environmental collapse

Relevant action was central to the question can business prevent environmental collapse? Jonathan Porritt, co-founder of Forum for the Future told delegates that organisations must act in a timely way over the next 10-15 years to prevent a climate apocalypse.

Internal auditors must understand the climate science and broaden the scope of all engagements to include sustainability. Assurance should include physical climate risk (flooding, heatwaves, sea levels) and transitional climate risk (policies, business model, cost) in the move to a low carbon economy.

Although warning that we are going to be dramatically disrupted by climate change for the rest of our lives, Porritt was upbeat that solutions are available and good things are happening for instance Scotland is close to being powered by all renewable energy by the end of 2020.

Pace of action is key and non-executives have a crucial role in holding management to account.

Audit leaders therefore also have to be relevant as there is a crucial role to play in providing assurance that governance and processes supporting decision making are effective.

Megatrends for the future

Climate change and resource scarcity was one of five global shifts impacting how we live and work that have been identified by…