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 article is designed to stretch your thinking as it explores the future for internal audit through a fictional 2040 interview with Chief Audit Executive, Mai Lin 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.

What first attracted you to internal audit?

At the time, there was a real groundswell for change, high profile organisations had collapsed, there were frequent frauds and scandals, even at a huge charity, Oxfam and diversity  was a hot topic…the root cause of the problems always appeared to be poor corporate governance. I saw a presentation that made internal audit sound exciting. It seemed a good career to get into and it hasn’t disappointed.

Like many of my friends I left university thinking enough is enough and wanted to make a difference. Thankfully, I had 18 months in an office before the Covid pandemic hit in 2020 and we all moved to working remotely.  ‘

Being a young internal auditor was tough but I learnt so much. Organisations across all sectors were struggling due to the cost challenges of the pandemic which happened just as the UK was finding its feet after leaving the EU. We also had considerable supply chain issues and inflation skyrocketed because of geopolitical instability.  I remember our CAE advising the board when they decided to change the business model and thinking I wanted his job.

In what way has life changed since you started working?

Back in the Teens we carried phones…

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

- Henry Ford