Live virtual | Auditing culture

Presented By
James Paterson PIIA With a career in both finance and human resources, James was also the head of internal audit for AstraZeneca PLC from 2002-2009. James has been training, consulting and coaching HIAs and their teams since 2010 and runs a number of key courses for the IIA, including the Head of Audit Induction Masterclass, Root cause analysis for internal Audit and Assurance Mapping. James was a member of the IIA Council and has been invited as a speaker at three IIA International conferences. James has had numerous articles published and is the author of the book Lean Auditing, published by J Wiley in 2015.

Risk and control issues are increasingly attributed to cultural weaknesses – especially in the financial services sector. But do we really understand what we mean when we talk about culture, not just what it is but what are its drivers?

This course will examine what we mean by culture, sub-culture and how this differs from behaviour. It will equip audit teams with an ability to critically evaluate those who want to argue that culture can be “bottled and managed” through surveys and discussion groups, highlighting how easy it could be for audit to get “drawn in” to cultural blind-spots, which might limit its ability to be truly independent and objective in this important but complex area.

The one-day course will discuss good practice approaches to tackling culture through enhancing root cause analysis and watching behaviours during assignments, and will also highlight pitfalls including underestimating the criteria for any audit of culture and the political dimensions of any work in culture.  

Who should attend?

Heads of internal audit and audit managers.

What will I learn?

Upon completion you will be able to:

  • understand key guidance concerning internal audit's role in looking at culture 
  • understand the psychological and systemic drivers that create culture, sub-cultures and individual behaviours
  • understand the many different ways to approach an analysis of culture (including measuring management attitudes to audit) and the benefits and pitfalls of each
  • start to deepen your understanding of your organisation’s culture and your audit team culture and how this can and will affect your approach to auditing culture in your own organisation.

Course programme


  • definitions and models of culture - no one correct version - no matter what anyone tells you

Where does culture come from?

  • psychological factors - individual, national, group dynamics and dealing with authority/politics
  • differences between the espoused and real culture – understanding defensive routines.

Why is culture hard to measure

  • what can and cannot be inferred from staff surveys
  • the link between risk appetite and risk culture and the problem of finding suitable criteria when looking into cultural issues.

Chartered IIA and other guidance concerning culture

  • overview of Chartered IIA, FCA etc guidance.

Practical approaches and good practices

  • paying attention to audit behaviours and management attitude towards audits
  • root cause analysis and culture
  • practical first steps.

Looking ahead

  • recognising the limits of internal audit in this area – the risk of taking on a management role and of false assurance
  • Being able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of using consultants to help you work on this area.

CPE competency areas covered

  • Governance, risk and control
  • Internal audit management

7 CPE points

Full price

Member: £625 + VAT
Non-member: £840 + VAT

SAVE 20% by undertaking this course virtually

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