Leaders' Conference 2019 insights

Kick back with a 10-minute summary of the 2019 Leaders' Conference. A great refresher for delegates and a quick way to catch up if you missed it. We hope to see you next time!

The skills required of internal audit are changing. From futurists to experienced audit leaders there is regularly more talk of psychology, innovation and behaviours than accounting and compliance.


Key takeaways

Audit leaders must act now to stay relevant to our organisations and society. The way you lead your team, the audits completed, the skills developed, is ultimately how our profession is perceived.

  • The message of the day centred on having courage to be relevant: taking on innovative audits, being open to new possibilities, speaking the truth to power and moving positively through uncertainty.
  • Computing power doubles every year together with digital capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing. Futurist, Ben Hammersley, warned that “algorithms are only opinions”. AI trains itself on data: using historical data exposes results to the biases that exist today like Amazon’s sexist recruitment algorithm. Assuring data integrity is critical.
  • Hammersley stated that internal audit could be “the last bastion of self-defence” for protecting objective truth. In an age of fake news and machine learning, guardians of cognition have a great responsibility, this is where power will be won or lost, not only at an organisational level but geopolitically.
  • Michelle Holmes, Managing Director for Protiviti told delegates that they should stop thinking about AI and digital developments as technology projects. They are business transformation projects, enablers for change. People, process and governance remain pivotal - there is always “human interaction” even in the digital age.
  • “Uncertainty is the new certainty” according to ex-Cabinet minister now PwC advisor, Michael Moore. Talking about Brexit he noted that common sense and consensus are not…