Singapore Government

IA on the fast track

In 2014, internal auditors can look forward to a comprehensive professional development programme designed to enhance their skills and capabilities.

Since Rule 1207 (10) was introduced by the Singapore Exchange in September 2011, internal auditing has become a much talked-about subject. Why? The rule requires the board of a company to provide an opinion, with the concurrence of the Audit Committee, on the adequacy of the company’s internal controls, addressing financial, operational and compliance risks.

It is clear that Rule 1207 (10) seeks to strengthen corporate governance via the IA function since any opinion of assurance is unlikely to be given without it. Yet, simply having an IA function may not be sufficient, and it should not be present simply for the purpose of complying with regulations.

Quality of work is another relevant concern. Internal auditors play a vital and highly specialised role and need to be properly trained and certified. While the majority of the listed companies in Singapore already have IA functions (be it an in-house or outsourced capability), if the personnel performing the audit have no proper training, the end result is simply more form than substance. There is little difference between an under-qualified internal auditor performing the IA role and a simple annual “box-ticking” exercise.

Given these challenges, there is clearly a need for internal auditors to upgrade their knowledge, skills and expertise in order to properly fulfil their responsibilities. To address this need and help raise IA standards in Singapore and the Asia Pacific, ACEIA (Asia Centre of Excellence for Internal Audit) is in the process of developing a completely new Advanced Management Programme for internal auditors. Set for launch in early 2014, this Advanced Management Programme will not only provide a structured learning pathway for aspiring internal auditors, it will also prepare current practitioners for leadership roles in the field.

IA will soon be on a fast track. With proper training and certification, internal auditors will soon be better qualified to add value to their companies.

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