What you will learn

The QIAL assessment comprises five sections:

  1. Case study 1*: Internal audit leadership
  2. Case study 2*: Organisational leadership
  3. Case study 3*: Ethical leadership
  4. Presentation: Innovation and change leadership
  5. Panel interview

*Candidates who are eligible for Program Pathway 2 may submit a Portfolio of Professional Experience (PPE) as a substitute for one or more case studies.

Please note:

  • Candidates will be required to pass the case studies (or the PPE alternative, if eligible) before they can register for the presentation and panel interview
  • All QIAL content will be tested at the proficiency level (P), meaning that the candidate must exhibit a thorough understanding of and the ability to apply concepts in these topic areas

Exam non-disclosure

  • The QIAL case studies and panel interview questions are non-disclosed examination content, which means that they will not be published or divulged
  • Exam topics and/or format are subject to change as approved by The IIA's Professional Certification Board (PCB)

Case study 1: Internal audit leadership

This covers five areas:

  1. Internal audit planning (20–25%)
  2. Internal audit relations (20–25%)
  3. Internal audit quality (20–25%)
  4. Internal audit talent management (20–25%)
  5. Communication skills (5–10%)

1. Internal audit planning

  • Assume responsibility for the strategic and operational planning of internal audit services
  • Ensure alignment of the internal audit strategic plan with organisational strategy, risk profile and enterprise-wide risk management strategy
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to internal audit planning

2. Internal audit relations

  • Act as an advocate for internal audit and the contribution it makes to organisational effectiveness
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to internal audit relations.

3. Internal audit quality

  • Establish and implement appropriate arrangements for continuous quality assurance and improvement program for internal audit
  • Apply benchmarks to internal audit activity as the basis for monitoring and improvement
  • Secure the independence and objectivity of the internal audit activity
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to internal audit quality

4. Internal audit talent management

  • Build and develop a team of staff to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the provision of internal audit services
  • Nurture individual talent
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to managing staff 

5. Communication skills

  • Produce a document in a style and format appropriate to the task
  • Use technical language correctly appropriate to the intended audience
  • Adhere to the common conventions of written language (spelling, grammar, structure)

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Case study 2: Organisational leadership

This covers six areas:

  1. Governance, risk, and control (25–30%)
  2. Strategy (10–15%)
  3. Insight (15–20%)
  4. Culture (10–15%)
  5. Assurance (15–20%)
  6. Communication skills (5–10%)

1. Governance, risk, and control

  • Provide assurance and consulting services on all matters relating to governance, risk and control
  • Support the development of risk awareness in all aspects of organisational activity and enhance the measures used to control risk
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to governance, risk, and control

2. Strategy

  • Evaluate corporate and business strategy, assuring that it successfully exploits opportunities to create current and future value for all stakeholders
  • Provide advisory services to senior managers and the board that facilitate an organisation’s ability to achieve its strategic objectives
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to strategic planning processes

3. Insight

  • Demonstrate robust business acumen relevant to the client organisation and its industrial sector
  • Deliver insightful consultation based on a sound understanding of the organisation’s internal and external environments
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to delivering insight

4. Culture

  • Recognise the determinants of organisational culture
  • Navigate the cultural, social and political structures within and between organisations in order to maximise the impact of internal audit services
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to culture 

5. Assurance

  • Contribute to the coordinated provision of assurance across an organisation to ensure consistent and coherent coverage
  • Provide an overall opinion on an organisation’s systems of internal control
  • Interpret and apply professional standards and other best practices to strategic planning processes

6. Communication skills

  • Produce a document in a style and format appropriate to the task
  • Use technical language correctly appropriate to the intended audience
  • Adhere to the common conventions of written language (spelling, grammar, structure)

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Case study 3: Ethical leadership

This covers four areas:

  1. Ethics and ethical behaviour (35–40%)
  2. Corporate social responsibility (35–40%)
  3. Long-term organisational sustainability (15–20%)
  4. Communication skills (5–10%)

1. Ethics and ethical behaviour

  • Advise an organisation on ethical issues and the risks associated with reputation and fraud
  • Facilitate the development, implementation, and monitoring of organisational ethical policies across all aspects of activity
  • Demonstrate ethical leadership
  • Maintain professional integrity and objectivity

2. Corporate social responsibility

  • Advise an organisation on social and environmental responsibilities
  • Enable an organisation to comply with its regulatory and legislative obligations

3. Long-term organisational sustainability

  • Promote long-term organisational sustainability in all areas of strategic and operational activity
  • Support the development of organisational goals and strategies for long-term organisational sustainability

4. Communication skills

  • Produce a document in a style and format appropriate to the task
  • Use technical language correctly appropriate to the intended audience
  • Adhere to the common conventions of written language (spelling, grammar, structure)

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Presentation: Innovation and change leadership

Presentation task summary

Deliver a 20 minute presentation, as if to the board, in which you describe:

  • The role played by internal audit in helping an organization remain aware of, and effectively manage, its current and emerging risks
  • How a chief audit executive should maintain awareness of leading-edge practices in internal auditing
  • The innovative internal audit practice(s) you have selected
  • The intended benefits from the innovative internal audit practice(s)
  • The process for implementing the innovation(s) effectively

The presentation should reflect best practices in internal auditing and draw upon examples from your own professional experience. Communication skills will form part of the overall assessment.

There will be a 10-minute question-and-answer session following your 20-minute presentation.

The presentation covers four areas:

  1. Innovation and change (15-20%)
  2. Emerging risk (25-30%)
  3. Leading-edge practice in internal audit (35-40%)
  4. Communication skills (15-20%)

1. Innovation and change

  • Identify and advise on opportunities for innovation to achieve strategic advantage and organisational success
  • Provide assurance and advisory services related to organisational change initiatives to ensure successful and lasting outcomes

2. Emerging risk 

  • Maintain awareness of current and emerging risks in internal and external environments (e.g., globalisation, portable media, cybercrime, social media, cloud computing)
  • Provide assurance and advisory services to enable an organization to manage its current and emerging risks

3. Leading-edge practice in internal audit

  • Maintain awareness of advances in the professional practice of internal auditing (e.g., innovations, leading practices)
  • Maximize internal audit effectiveness through proactive adoption of innovations

4. Communication skills

  • Organise and express ideas clearly
  • Customise messages for the audience
  • Employ the technical conventions of language (grammar, etc.) correctly so the meaning is clear
  • Uses technical terms correctly and consistently

Panel interview

Interview task summary

You will be asked a series of prepared questions by a member or members of an interview panel. You are required to demonstrate your professional competence by responding to those questions and drawing upon your knowledge, experience, and understanding.

The interview covers four areas:

  1. Internal audit leadership (40–45%)
  2. Organisational leadership (20–25%)
  3. Ethical leadership (10–15%)
  4. Innovation and change leadership (10–15%)
  5. Interpersonal skills (10–15%)

1. Internal audit leadership

  • Interpret and apply professional standards to the management and delivery of internal audit services
  • Assume responsibility for the strategic and operational planning of internal audit services
  • Act as an advocate for internal audit and the contribution it makes to organizational effectiveness
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders of internal audit
  • Establish and implement appropriate arrangements for a continuous quality assurance and improvement program for internal audit
  • Support the delivery of internal audit services

2. Organisational leadership

  • Contribute to the coordinated provision of assurance across an organization to ensure consistent and coherent coverage
  • Engage emotional intelligence to empathize with others and understand their motivations
  • Wield personal influence to maximize impact

3. Ethical leadership

  • Demonstrate ethical leadership
  • Maintain professional integrity and objectivity

4. Innovation and change leadership

  • Identify and advise on opportunities for innovation for the purpose of strategic advantage and organisational success
  • Provide assurance and advisory services related to organisational change initiatives to ensure successful and lasting outcomes

5. Innovation and change leadership

  • Identify and advise on opportunities for innovation for the purpose of strategic advantage and organisational success
  • Provide assurance and advisory services related to organisational change initiatives to ensure successful and lasting outcomes

6. Interpersonal skills

  • Demonstrate dynamic communication skills when engaging with a range of different audiences

Read the full syllabus (pdf 17 pages)