It is vital for the future of internal audit that we continually advocate for the important role the profession plays in the healthy functioning of organisations. To do this, it is equally important that we support each other within the industry to ensure an ongoing pipeline of reputable talent.
In the January/February issue of Audit & Risk I mentioned a number of initiatives that the Chartered IIA has been working on to encourage talented professionals to thrive as internal auditors and to help those considering entering the profession. These initiatives include: our Audit and Risk Awards that recognise exceptional performance in the field; a survey into the careers of internal auditors in the public sector to highlight the opportunities and challenges of such a path (see page 30); and the launch of a new internal audit apprenticeship programme.
Since then, we have welcomed our 10,000th member to the institute – a positive indication of the growing importance of internal audit and its influence with the board – and we have launched two more important initiatives to continue to raise the standing of internal audit in the corporate world.
The first of these is Aspire. Aspire is the new Chartered IIA community designed to connect and harness the energy of internal auditors who are just starting out in their careers. This network welcomes internal auditors who are new to the profession – young or old – and keen to make a head start. The network is about investing in the next generation of internal auditors, as well as learning and gaining insight from this enthusiastic group and their ideas about the future of the profession and where it is headed.
I’ve been pleased to see a significant amount of interest in the network and its launch event at Barclays on 17 April was well attended with over 70 budding auditors in the audience.
Since then, the network has hosted an event at which the keynote speaker, Margaret Stephens, audit committee chair at the Department for Exiting the European Union, discussed what she expects from her internal audit function in a very challenging area
Gaenor Bagley, chair of the audit committee at Royal Surrey County Hospital, then provided insight from an NHS perspective. It’s important that the network extends as far as possible geographically, so on 10 July IIA Midlands will host an Aspire event focused on career development in internal audit.
Rosie Fisher, who is the youngest member of the Chartered IIA Council as well as being senior associate at PwC, has been doing a great job heading up the network and providing the guidance and structure it needs to thrive. There will be a lot more to come in this space, so look out for new events and updates on the dedicated Aspire webpage at iia.org.uk/aspire
We are also in the process of establishing a network for Women in Internal Audit. As the name suggests, the network is intended to support and increase the representation of women in the profession and to recognise the great work that women do in this field. Sally Clark, head of internal audit at Barclays, who also sits on our council, has been guiding and championing this network in its formative stages.
A number of women who are senior heads of internal audit recently attended an inaugural steering committee meeting to help decide a set of actions for the network. We will soon get in touch with everyone who has expressed interest to provide an update on our next steps and details of a launch event. If you would like to stay informed, email us at email@example.com
This article was first published in July 2018.