Risk in Focus

Hot topics for internal auditors: the 2022 report

Risk in Focus is an annual thought leadership research project analysing the top risks faced by organisations across Europe. It is an essential tool for audit committees and a barometer of what Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) and others perceive as their organisations’ risk priorities for 2022 and beyond.

Key findings

  1. Climate change and environmental sustainability is now seen as a top five risk by as many as 31% of CAEs, representing an increase of more than 40% on last year’s survey.

  2. The new report identifies leading risks to organisations in 2022 as: cybersecurity and data security, change in laws and regulations, and digital disruption and AI.

  3. As businesses weigh up what working models to embed post-pandemic, the risks to culture, morale and staff cohesion should not be underestimated. Human capital, diversity and talent management is cited by 40% of CAEs as among their top five risks.

Download the Risk in Focus 2022 report (pdf)

About the report

Risk in Focus helps Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) to understand how their peers view today’s risk landscape as they prepare their forthcoming audit plans for 2022.

For the past six years, Risk in Focus has sought to highlight key risk areas to help internal auditors prepare independent risk assessment work, annual planning and audit scoping.

Our Risk in Focus 2022 report takes its lead from COVID-19 and the dizzying pace of change and uncertainty that the pandemic has brought as regards data security, workplace fatigue, financial risk, etc. The report also looks to climate change as a principal risk at what is a time of conflicting priorities for internal audit.

This report should not be considered prescriptive, but as a tool to inform internal audit’s thinking and provide a benchmark against which CAEs can contrast and compare their own independent risk assessments.


In the first half of 2021, a quantitative survey was shared amongst the CAE members of 12 Institutes of Internal Auditors in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK and Ireland. This survey elicited 738 responses, an all-time high for this research project.

Simultaneously, a sample of 35 Chief Audit Executives (CAEs), 12 Audit Committee Chairs (ACCs) and three CEOs from across these countries were interviewed to provide deeper insights into how these risks are manifesting and developing.

The topics in this report were determined by quantitative survey results; the qualitative feedback from the interviews has been used to contextualise the survey results, providing colour and up-to-the-minute considerations for CAEs, with priority given to new issues and emerging themes that warrant attention.

Related content

Read the Risk in Focus 2021 report

Read the Risk in Focus 2020 report

Risk Overview: Human capital, diversity and talent management