As part of our COVID-19 hub, we are hosting a weekly Heads of Internal Audit Virtual Forum, until further notice, chaired by Paul Manning, President of the Institute, with support from John Wood, CEO of the Institute, Liz Sandwith, Chief Professional Practices Advisor, and Derek Jamieson, the Institute’s Regional Director for Scotland.
The Forum is virtual and its purpose is to offer an open environment where audit leaders can exchange information or concerns for the purposes of helping each other throughout what will inevitably be a period of very significant challenge for us all.
Members of the institute will offer technical and practical guidance, but we will encourage and indeed welcome the contributions of all audit leaders who are ultimately best placed to share experiences.
This Forum comes hot on the heels of Richard Chambers’ blog post ‘Coronavirus: Life and Death at the Speed of Risk’, in which the IIA Global CEO describes COVID-19 as being “one of the greatest global risks we have seen in a decade.”
“Its rapid emergence and maturation into an imminent health and economic threat is disrupting businesses and markets, slowing productivity, and generating huge public-health expenditures. The possibility that it could usher in a global recession is real.” Says Richard.
He adds: “The new awareness of and commitment to nimble risk management has never been tested by a threat that has so many facets. In less than 100 days since its emergence in China's Wuhan province, COVID-19 has affected businesses as diverse as Princess Cruise Lines and Apple Inc. Beyond the obvious impact on health and safety, it has become a direct threat to cruise lines, airlines, hotels, conferences, catering, and tourism.”
He then goes on to say that: “A significant impact also may be on global financial markets, which have seen sizable declines fed by uncertainty about the medical community's ability to contain COVID-19's rapid spread. Prolonged uncertainty about containing the outbreak, and the disease's ultimate impact on productivity and business transactions, will determine whether this remains a medical crisis or evolves into a global economic one, as well.”
Concluding: “All organizations and internal auditors should prepare for the latter possibility by reviewing their budgets, updating and testing crisis management plans, and considering a reasoned reordering of their audit plans.”
Already in less than two weeks the world has moved on from Richard’s message.
The most astounding aspect of this dynamic global threat is that it was not on anyone's radar three months ago.
The World Economic Forum has identified infectious diseases as number 10 on its top 10 risks, so this may not be the only pandemic that we see in the next decade.
The Institute’s overall ambition for the foreseeable future is to support internal audit functions navigate through the crisis in a manner which helps them maximise the value they provide to their organisations.
This we will achieve through delivery of a series of Heads of Internal Audit Forums which provide a free-flowing setting for discussion and debate at what is a difficult and unprecedented time.
The Forums are virtual and invitation-only, and will evolve based on feedback from audit leaders and the challenges they're facing.
The intention moving forward is that audit leaders can contact either Liz Sandwith (email@example.com) or Derek Jamieson (firstname.lastname@example.org) with requests to attend a Forum but also to share thoughts, questions, challenges so that we have the opportunity to learn from each other.
We are also inviting representatives of each of the Regional Committees as we firmly believe that the regions have the potential to play a key role in providing input and cascading key messages to their local networks.
The output of each Forum will be hosted here, but we would also ask audit leaders/members to support the engagement process through their personal communication channels. Essentially, the wider we can distribute key messages using existing networks the more engagement we create and the greater the value we can provide to our membership.
Thank you and stay safe.
Follow and keep track of our Forums as they happen. Minutes for each Forum are provided below.