Does an internal auditor (IA) have a useful role in an organisation?

Do you still feel worried and uncomfortable when you learn that the IA is coming to conduct an audit in your department? Do you always prepare yourself to receive the bad news from the IA? Does the IA add any value to your department or is just a pin in the neck?   The days of getting worried about annoying reports from the IA are long gone. The IA of today is expected to add value to the whole organisation.  This article summarises the role of an IA as follows;

Internal control system  

The IA gives assurance to management and the board that the internal control system in place has the capacity to   ensure  that   the organisation achieves its objectives in the most effective and efficient manner.  The IA also gives assurance that the system which is continuously operating as designed has the capacity to detect and prevent risks which may prevent the organisation from achieving its objectives.  With the IA assurance the board and management are able to confidently move forward with knowledge that   the risks facing the organisation are   properly managed.

Advises management on risk management

The IA is an expert on risk management   and is therefore   in position to advice management on matters relating to risk management. The IA can highlight areas of risk exposures including making recommendations on how management can handle the risk exposures.

Trains staff and management

The IA is an expert in risk management and has therefore the capacity to train the board, management and staff in matters relating to risk management including the latest trends.  He can also give authoritative interpretation on technical aspects relating to risk.

The board and risk management

Under the current corporate governance practices, the IA reports to the board. IA therefore helps the board to fulfil its responsibility of risk management. The IA gives the board assurance that the risk management system is continuously operating as designed with the aim of ensuring the organisation effectively and efficiently achieves its objectives.

External auditor and management

IA being an inside in an organisation knows most issues including risk exposures relating to an organisation and is therefore in the right position to facilitate both the external auditor and management during the course of the audit. The external auditor tends to rely on the work on the IA if it has been properly carried out.


John Muhaise Bikalemesa

Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited