Agents of Change: Internal Auditors in an Era of Disruption

March 15, 2021

Published: The Institute of Internal Auditors

New Book by Richard Chambers Calls for a Revolutionary Evolution in Internal Audit

To be ready for the future and reinforce their crucial role in organizations, internal auditors must not only embrace change, but become a catalyst for transformation. That’s the key takeaway in The Institute of Internal Auditors President and CEO Richard F. Chambers’ latest book, Agents of Change: Internal Auditors in an Era of Disruption. Combining data from a global survey of chief audit executives, as well as tapping into more than four decades of learning, observation, and experience, Chambers – one of the leading voices and thought leaders in the internal audit profession – lays out the necessary steps for practitioners to improve processes and skills, and importantly, their mindset..

Agents of Change is the final installment in a series by Chambers exploring the characteristics of the best of the best and what internal auditors should all aspire to be in the profession. Like his previous books, Agents of Change is well-timed as the world copes with a global pandemic and forces us to drastically change how we live, work, and even play.

“As Richard acknowledges, the only constant in this world is change, which helps him build his case in his book for why we all must strive to become agents of change — to thrive or, perhaps, simply survive,” Naohiro Mouri, Executive Vice President and Chief Auditor of American International Group Inc., and former IIA Global Chairman, writes in the book’s Foreword.

To get there, Chambers writes, “Throughout this book, I examined internal auditing’s evolution, from its origins centuries ago to today’s modern profession, and the arc of that history has indeed been much more evolution than revolution. That must change.

“We can no longer afford the comfort of only responding or reacting. We must be proactive. The forces that control modern business, economies, and societies demand agility and resilience, and our organizations deserve nothing less from us. Internal audit must be on the forefront of change.”

Agents of Change addresses key aspects of what that revolutionary evolution must entail. They include:

  • Transforming our mindsets to thrive in an era in which change is fast-paced, dynamic, and unrelenting.
  • Acknowledging our shortcomings as a profession and as individual practitioners — and committing to improve them.
  • Letting go of comfortable, outdated processes, and accepting radical ways of thinking.
  • Embracing technology in the way we undertake our mission and as a focus of our mission.
  • Expanding our skill sets in communication, innovation, and proactive thinking.
  • Viewing independence and objectivity as tools for change — not barriers.
  • Willingly taking on the mantle of agents of change.

As noted in the book, internal auditors used to be derisively referred to as “bean counters.” The classic assurance providers in the profession still count the beans, Chambers writes. Trusted advisors, meanwhile, know how to grow, harvest, and take the beans to market. But change agents are bold and confident enough to advocate changing the crop to maximize results.

“My intent is for this book to be a call to action for internal audit practitioners at all levels,” Chambers writes. “To truly impart value to our organizations, we must be catalysts for transformation that creates value within the organizations we serve. . . . We should be influencing positive change that enhances our organizations’ value. . . . I hope this book will inform and inspire you to become a catalyst for transformation within your organization.”

Whether you are new to internal auditing or a seasoned professional, Chambers provides clear and convincing direction to elevate your skills and put you on the path toward becoming an Agent of Change.

https://na.theiia.org/news/Pages/Agents-of-Change-Internal-Auditors-in-an-Era-of-Disruption.aspx

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