Risk in Focus

Hot topics for internal auditors: the 2020 report

Risk in Focus is an annual report analysing the top business risks which organisations across Europe are facing.

Key findings

1. The top three risks currently facing businesses and other organisations in nine European countries are: cybersecurity (78%), regulatory change (59%) and digitalisation (58%).

2. Cybersecurity (78%) and digitalisation (58%) have both appeared in the top three risks in the last two years – although this year the number citing cybersecurity as a top five risk has increased by 18%, further consolidating its position as the number one risk.

3. The report recommends various ways in which businesses can increase protection against cyber threats, including:

  • Recruiting an internal or external cybersecurity expert to minimise corporate risks.
  • Assessing how customer service chatbots are protected against breaches.
  • Assessing the security of cloud services - including ensuring robust systems and processes are in place to prevent misconfigurations.

Download Risk in Focus 2020 report (pdf)

Short on time? Watch this summary of the report

About the report

Risk in Focus helps Heads of Internal Audit to understand how their peers view today’s risk landscape as they prepare their forthcoming audit plans for 2020.

The hot topics in this report represent risks which are relevant across all sectors and industries. The list is not exhaustive, and we expect internal audit to take an appropriately risk-based approach to its work by addressing organisations’ greatest priorities. The topics listed should, therefore, be treated as a reference point.

However, because risk in not solely the domain of internal audit, this report is also relevant for boards, audit committees, risk managers and other assurance providers.


Now in its fourth year, Risk in Focus is a collaborative effort between eight European institutes of internal auditors in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK and Ireland.

We undertook in-depth interviews with 46 Heads of Internal Audit in all of these territories and across all sectors as part of our qualitative research into priority risk areas which are expected to be addressed in audit plans for 2020 and beyond. In addition, we also conducted a quantitative survey that received 528 responses.

Related content

Read the Risk in Focus 2019 report

Read the Risk in Focus 2018 report