Business acumen for internal audit

Take a few minutes for a quick, practical refresher on the topic of business acumen. It is for audit leaders and auditors alike. We look at why it is important, top tips and some practical tools chosen specifically for auditors.

Short for time? Skip ahead for 10 top tips on business acumen.

A core competency for all

Business acumen is a core competency for auditors in all sectors. It is about understanding how an organisation operates and using that knowledge to make good decisions.

  • How confident are you in your business acumen skills?
  • Do you actively think about improving it?
  • If it was a mobile phone, is it due an upgrade?

Openness to learning is step one in developing business acumen and being a valued audit leader.

What do we mean by business acumen?

As part of the learning for the internal audit apprentice schemes, the Chartered IIA has its own definition of business acumen: “interpret/articulate key risks impacting organisation/wider industry; apply understanding of this wider context to drive audit plan.”

All business situations, regardless of sector, involve a degree of risk: the threats and opportunities that determine an organisation’s success or failure. Business acumen and good risk management go hand in hand.

Conceptually business acumen can be broken down into two parts. The first is literacy: developing a knowledge of the acronyms, language and various functions within the organisation. All of the fact-based practical information. The second part overlays the actual acumen onto this knowledge. Acumen is the ability to make sound judgements and quick decisions; in this case in a business context.

Together they represent a formidable leadership trait. One without the other is useful but not powerful in improving personal and organisational performance.

Why is this important to me?

Business acumen is part of the Chartered…