Singapore Government

Video Interview: Attributes of the 21st Century Internal Auditor

Driven by accelerating change, the 21st Century Internal Auditor requires a skilful blend of attributes - from effective relationship building and integrity, to technical competence. Acquiring effective soft skills is essential for all successful internal auditors. The 21st Century Internal Auditor has to be seen as an effective communicator, a creative thinker and a problem solver. With the rise of social networking, internal auditors of today should also leverage on social media as an effective tool in their work.

The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore and Robert Half sought several industry practitioners' views on what it takes to be a 21st Century Internal Auditor.

What are the important soft skills a successful Internal Auditor should possess?

A Good Communicator

"You need soft skills and you need EQ to be able to draw out responses from the people you audit ,and that is something that you can't really teach in a textbook"

- Mr. Alex Yan, Senior Manager, Group Audit, CLSA

"Besides the technical skills of an internal auditor; everybody, really.. everybody wants the internal auditor to be a good communicator. To me, that's a very important skill to be seen in an internal auditor. There's no point doing a great piece of work that you are technically superb in but cannot communicate.. you cannot bring the point across; you cannot convince.. it becomes very difficult if you cannot communicate."

- Mr. Uantchern Loh, Chief Executive, Singapore Accountancy Commission

 

Creative Thinking

"Creative thinking; thinking outside the box, whatever you may want to call it.. is I think, an interesting skill that internal auditors should have. By doing so, we can push our businesses forward.. we will not be doing the same old thing again. Right now, in terms of business.. the fast pace of our business, we really need to ensure that our people have the ability to think on their feet, to be able to provide innovative solutions to problems that we have today." 

- Mr. Anthony Lim, Executive Director, Global IT Audit, Las Vegas Sands Corp

"It's the way we engage with our auditees, in the way we present our points, and being able to listen to them and if whatever they say is valid, I think it is always important to highlight that as far as possible either in our report or in our executive summary."

- Mr. Lim Beng Wee, Audit Manager, Fraser & Neave Group

 

Building Relationships

"Relationship building is upwards, downwards, as well as lateral. Downwards.. let's say for myself, will be with my staff members; my team members. Upwards will be with senior management, and laterally means with my co-workers; my colleagues. I think it's very important because depending on the level of communication and the level of people you are interacting with, you have to cater the approach accordingly." 

- Mr. Alex Yan, Senior Manager, Group Audit, CLSA

With the rise of social networking, how has social media impacted the audit landscape?

"I think internal auditors should be aware of whatever social media their organisations use. There is always the concern that the information being pushed out on social media isn't appropriate, that hasn't been reviewed.. and hasn't been cleared by management - it's something that I think internal auditors should be mindful of." 

- Mr. Anthony Lim, Executive Director, Global IT Audit, Las Vegas Sands Corp

 


Make full use of social media

"Unless there is a whistle blowing.. and it gives you a very specific target to do more work on... and of course then, we will rely on all kinds of sources, to give us a bit of that level of assurance."

- Mr. Lim Beng Wee, Audit Manager, Fraser & Neave Group

"When you post something on facebook.. when you tweet, when you put something on Instagram, the information is just so fast and so readily available.. So this is where there is a treasure trove of information for the internal auditor. Take for example, if the internal auditor were to audit HR, (there is) a lot of stuff out there on Facebook; on chatrooms, that can give guidance to the internal auditors as to where to focus on; what are some of the things that you never know was happening and was out there.. so make full use of it - social media - it's a great tool for internal auditors." 

- Mr. Uantchern Loh, Chief Executive, Singapore Accountancy Commission

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