Internal Audit Conference 2020: Virtual insights for 2020 and beyond

Pioneering was how one keynote speaker described the Chartered IIA's 2020 Internal Audit Conference.

A virtual event for exceptional times where avatars could sit in lecture theatres, network and dance at the after party without the constraints of a pandemic.

Avatars were an apt choice for the event with two discrete themes running across almost all of the sessions; normalisation and innovation.

Here are five key takeaways from the event:

  • Major corporate governance reform is on the horizon
  • Accepting unacceptable norms makes internal audit complicit
  • Innovation thrives under uncertainty and pressure
  • Talk truth to power
  • Follow the airline principle and put your own facemask on first before helping others – look after your own mental health and wellbeing

The future of audit regulation in the UK

Sir Jon Thompson, CEO of the Financial Reporting Council talked to delegates about key elements of the UK’s major governance reform agenda. The extent of the reviews demonstrates that acceptance of poor governance practices will no longer be tolerated. When asked if the pandemic could impact progress, he noted that most recommendations are relatively cost neutral for organisations and that momentum remains for something akin to SOX and a regulatory framework for audit committees although the priority of these will likely be subject to debate.

While he did not anticipate change landing for corporates until at least 2022, he called on audit leaders to think innovatively about the role that internal audit should have once the external audit remit includes the front half of the annual report, recognising that high quality internal audit functions are already providing assurance in this space.

Why people are our greatest asset

An avatar standing ovation was well deserved for a practical and engaging presentation by Stevie Spring, Chairman for MIND, the mental health charity. She reminded delegates…