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Competing crises - pandemic, climate and recession

Crises are competing for the attention of internal auditors. Whether or not we are being asked for it, governance leaders need the independent, objective assurance of internal audit now more than ever before.

Are you multi-tasking?
Are you up for the challenge?

COVID-19 has been an all-consuming priority for organisations – a clear and present danger.

Yet while we continue to live through a global pandemic and adjust to new ways of working an even bigger crisis looms over us.

Climate change is an existential risk. One which threatens the very existence of humanity.

While we bemoan the temporary inconvenience of social distancing and wearing masks the crisis continues to gather pace. The pandemic caused global leaders to defer the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) from November 2020 to November 2021; during the pandemic Death Valley recorded a temperature of 54oC; the planet is not on pause.

As if this isn’t enough, there is a third crisis.

In August, the UK officially entered into recession due to the economic impact of the pandemic; however, there were warning signs even before the word coronavirus entered our vocabulary. The economic cycle and impact of Brexit compounded the unprecedented challenges of a pandemic.

The environment in which our organisations operate is complex and volatile.

The assurance internal audit provides must be relevant; the old plan and the approach in creating it are now obsolete.

Business leaders, public officials and governance bodies managing risk and multi-tasking on a level never before imagined. There is no reprieve, no light touch on the agenda. Everything is critical.

In times of crisis investors often turn to gold, a reliable, valuable commodity to provide a security during macroeconomic uncertainty. Internal audit and the independent assurance we provide is gold to our governance leaders. Effective internal audit is an incredibly valuable asset.

Risk-based internal auditing will ensure that assurance is targeted at the risks that are of greatest concern; a delicate balance of managing immediate, short and long-term impacts. There are immediate physical, operational and reputational consequences of not managing all three crises simultaneously.

The Chartered Institute publishes Risk in Focus 2021 in September, following up with other reports that focus on these crises and the role of internal audit. Using these influential publications alongside your business acumen and knowledge of your sector will ensure your audit plan remains relevant.

What is your value?
Are you audit gold? 

Content reviewed: 1 February 2023