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Internal auditors work within businesses and organisations to monitor and evaluate how well risks are being managed, the business is being governed and internal processes are working.
They also provide a consulting service, advising management on how to improve systems and processes.
The scope and nature of audits can vary significantly but the main priority of the work is to make sure any issues that affect the survival and prosperity of the business are dealt with.
The work of an internal auditor differs to that of external auditors as they look at more than financial and accounting risks. They also consider factors such as reputation, growth, environmental impact, treatment of employees and ethics.
Their work helps senior management to provide evidence to stakeholders that they are managing the business effectively.
- attending meetings with auditees to develop an understanding of business processes;
- travelling to different sites to meet relevant staff and obtain documents and information;
- researching and assessing how well risk management processes are working and recording the results using software such as Microsoft Word and Excel;
- providing ad hoc advice and guidance to managers and staff at all levels, sometimes by delivering courses and training sessions;
- performing risk assessments on key business activities and using this information to guide what to cover in audits;
- anticipating emerging issues through research and interviews and deciding how best to deal with them;
- providing support and guidance to management on how to handle new opportunities;
- agreeing recommendations with relevant staff members to make improvements to operations and helping to secure backing for them in meetings;
- preparing reports to highlight issues and problems and distributing the reports to the relevant people;
- assessing how well the business is complying to rules and regulations and informing management whether any issues need addressing;
- managing a variety of stakeholders and their expectations through regular communications.