Maintaining a professional internal audit function

When we go to the doctor do we ask to see their licence to practice? No. We trust that they have studied, passed exams and are now keeping pace with the latest developments. The same is true of our audit customer - they also trust that you and your team are professional.

In this guide, we will explore the key qualities that together form our judgements on what constitutes professionalism together with establishing clear expectations of what is required when conducting internal audits in the UK and Ireland.

The Oxford dictionary defines a profession as “a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification”, this sits well with the Institutes’ assertion that professionalism does not occur overnight, as it is a process that evolves out of focused commitment and dedication, ongoing study and professional growth, unyielding ethics, unwavering determination, and plain, old-fashioned hard work.

Standards of professionalism begin and end with the recruitment strategy for your audit department, the qualities you seek out, the values you identify and share, the expectations you define and the leadership you demonstrate.

Sought after qualities

Over time, we create a personal picture that constitutes our own version of professionalism such as wearing cufflinks, having 500+ connections on LinkedIn or a string of letters on a business card. Certain characteristics however, are common, and although challenging, effort should be made to find ways of looking for these in the recruitment and assessment process for all roles including administrative audit assistants as everyone in the team represents the profession. There are a variety of ways in which these can be included from psychometric tests, assessment centres, presentation scenarios and background checks.

The attribute standards set out criteria that an auditor requires:

1120 Objectivity

An impartial, unbiased attitude and avoid any conflict of…

"Professional is not a label you give yourself – it’s a description you hope others will apply to you"

- David Maister

Further reading

Culture and the role of internal audit