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Auditors challenged to manage risks or clash

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Internal auditors have been urged to understand governance risks and manage them accordingly if they are to effectively contribute to national economic growth.

In his presentation at the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Malawi Annual Lake Conference in Mangochi on Friday, IIA Global President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard Chambers, said the profession would require vigilance to remain relevant amid challenges the local economy is facing.

He said an effective and sound risk-based internal audit plan was one of the most critical components of the profession’s success.

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The call comes at a times the role of internal auditors is under the microscope as most organisations face risks.

It also comes in the wake of unprecedented political uncertainty in the country that puts institutions and the economy at a higher risk.

Chambers said, in such a scenario, the internal auditor’s role would be to offer sound advice on best approaches to doing business.

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“We are operating and living in a world of unprecedented disruption and speed and we, as internal auditors, must be willing to audit at the speed of risk because, if we don’t, we will not save our organisations,” Chambers said.

He said while the profession had tried to navigate away from inconceivable assumption of being a policing agent to be trusted as advisers to stakeholders, more needed to be done to shape governance structures.

Chambers said it was ideal for internal auditors to profoundly understand the underlying risk drivers as well as potential impact to organisations and the economy.

“We have an important role to play in assessing whether management has good processes of identifying risks and providing assurance,” Chambers told delegates to the indaba.

IIA Malawi outgoing president, Thokozile Kuwali, said, in the face of changes in the operating environment, auditors should be on their toes.

“Whatever is happening, there are always risks. So, the call is that internal auditors should be on top of things on how to assess those risks and manage them properly.

“Internal auditors’ role is to review governance for economic growth. Things have changed and things are changing. Where we are coming from, there were a lot of governance breakdowns but we hope things will get better,” Kuwali said.

The conference was held under the theme ‘Governance, A Key to Economic Transformation’.

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