Internal audit in 2040: are we ready?

The pace of change in our lifetime is so much faster than ever before in history. What lies ahead for the next ten or twenty years, within the strategic planning horizon of the profession and your career?

This thought provoking paper is designed to stretch your thinking as it explores the future for internal audit through an interview with Chief Audit Executive, Pania Hussain of the Eastern Board Mutual Council of Unification, as she reflects on her career and the changes that have taken place since joining the profession in 2018.

Q. What first attracted you to internal audit?

There was a real groundswell for change, high profile organisations had collapsed, a scandal at a massive charity called Oxfam, gender equality was a hot topic…the root cause of the problems was always poor corporate governance. Like many of my friends I left uni thinking enough is enough and wanted to make a difference. Organisations across all sectors were finding it difficult to be cost efficient either to make money or provide services and there was some concern about the long-term availability of raw materials. Most were trying to change business models in one way or another. I saw a presentation that made internal audit sound exciting. It seemed a good career to get into and it hasn’t disappointed.

Q. In what way has life changed since you started working?

Back in the twenteens we carried phones now we have implants and contact lenses for communication. Companies were embryonic in connecting devices together; we went to a physical shop for food, it wasn’t automatically delivered depending on the recipe you select on your home console. Obviously that wasn’t just a techie thing, water shortages changed food production across the globe. I’m old-fashioned and still like to cook, in the early days…

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse"

- Henry Ford