Internal audit performance

A summary of external quality assessment (EQA) reviews of internal audit functions undertaken in 2020/2021

Operating at the highest level of professional and ethical competence has never been more important for internal auditors. Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) have risen to the pandemic challenges and continued to deliver assurance against a backdrop of almost constant change to the organisation’s risk profile. As we continue to navigate the pandemic impact, the spotlight has shifted to governance.

Unsurprisingly, the themes of 2020/21 echo those of the previous year with continued focus on agile delivery and changing working practices. There is also an increased emphasis on the need to ensure internal auditors have sufficient competence regarding IT skills in our digital age. Our thought leadership report Mind the Gap: Cyber security risk in the new normal touches on this point.

Over the last year, across a variety of our virtual forums, roundtable discussions and events, CAEs have collaborated to share learnings and overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

Download the report (pdf)


Key takeaways for 2020/2021 

In 2020/21 we undertook 29 reviews, 15 (52%) in the private sector, 6 (20%) in financial services and 8 (28%) in the public sector.

The findings of these reviews are summarised as follows:


Overall performance against IIA Standards 

We note that overall conformance with the Standards has improved over the last three years. In particular, it’s encouraging to see the levels being attained in the performance standards, relating to the fundamentals of doing the job.

The following table summarises performance against the Standards and Code of Ethics in the period 2020 – 21 and is a useful benchmarking tool when completing your own self-assessment.

Commitment to the continual review and improvement of the internal audit activity is a vital aspect of earning and maintaining the credibility and trust of governance leaders. CAEs undertaking both internal and external quality assessments lead by example, displaying the transparency that is expected by those being audited, and evidencing the value of a learning culture.

Download the report (pdf)