The benefits of internal auditing – a client’s perspective
Risk management is becoming increasingly critical to organisations as they navigate the complexities of strategy, performance and compliance. Boards and executive teams have never been more aware of the need to identify and prioritize risks, as well as implement control mechanisms to mitigate against possible problems and issues that can impact on business goals.
An ideal way to ensure your organisation is effectively managing risk is through an internal audit. This provides an independent review and assessment of an organisation’s business operations in terms of risk management, governance, efficiency and effectiveness. The process affords clients confidence in their business systems, and can also act as an agent for change.
Over the past five years WLF Accounting & Advisory has seen significant growth in the demand for our internal audit service offering. Our clients span across all industries, in both private and public sector. Accordingly, we’ve developed a very adaptable approach that we tailor to the context of each client in order to ensure real benefit and change for their organization.
Louise Bain from Federal Group is one of our internal audit clients, and has shared her thoughts on some of the benefits and outcomes of internal audit.
“It’s a great time to be working with Federal Group. We have some significant projects on the go, including the new MACq01 hotel and a luxury resort development at Port Arthur. We’re revisiting a number of our long-standing processes to ensure these projects fit with our overarching goals – creating memorable experiences for our guests. So it’s certainly an interesting environment for internal audit to be able to contribute and provide value!”
Louise says that the internal audit process is an important and valuable tool for General Managers right across the Federal Group, providing assurance within their specific areas of the business, “Given our size and diversity of operations we wanted to make sure the Group had a robust control system in place to face the range of activities, and related risks, that we are involved with.”
As well as providing confidence in the group’s business processes, internal audit has delivered additional benefits for internal culture and operations, and has helped move things forward in a systematic and non-threatening way.
“It’s been valuable in starting conversations with staff about what we do, why we do it, and how we can do it better,” says Louise. “There is always a slight tension between business as usual versus the opportunity to consider why we perform certain tasks. Having the WLF internal audit team come in gives us a sense of permission to stand back from ‘the way we’ve always done things’ and think carefully about what we are doing and the potential for improvement.”
Louise stressed the importance of preparation and collaboration in order to get maximum value from an internal audit. “Understanding the organization is critical so you can ensure your scope, review and recommendations are fit for purpose. People will quickly dismiss ideas if they think you lack an understanding of how they operate. It’s also critical to have buy-in and a willingness from senior management to implement change.”
And on a final note, Louise says that internal audit can even provide management and staff with a greater insight into what goes on across their business, “It’s also been really interesting discovering just how diverse our Group is!”
Photo: Louise Bain of Federal Group taking a quick break from her desk and enjoying the Wrest Point beach