Organizations in Asia Pacific and Europe appear to be using data analytics in the audit process more frequently, with 70% of respondents from both regions confirming they currently use data analytics, compared to only 63% from North America, according to a global survey of 1,500 chief audit executives by consulting firm Protiviti.
Two-thirds of internal audit groups plan to implement data analytics within the next one or two years (66%), yet one in three organizations (34%) have no plans to do so, the firm said.
“Internal audit groups continue to face a lack of skills in understanding and using analytics technologies,” said Brian Christensen, executive vice president, global internal audit at Protiviti. “Chief audit executives need to focus on increasing the levels of education in their internal audit functions, and more specifically, to move from general plans and discussions about using analytics to actually advancing and integrating analytics, robotic process automation and other digital initiatives into the audit plan.”
He warned that those who fail to integrate these initiatives risk becoming obsolete as their organizations continue to undergo digital transformation at an increasingly rapid pace.
In addition, 70% of surveyed firms in Asia Pacific have internal audit departments with a dedicated data analytics function while the percentage reaches 79% in Europe. North America once again has the lowest percentage—40%—in this regard.
The role of internal auditors is also expanding beyond financial assessments to include the tracking of company culture, cybersecurity and other emerging and evolving metrics, according to the survey results.
Among the top priorities for auditors in 2018 are fraud risk management, cyber security risk and vendor risk management, survey results indicate.