Just last week, this blog reported on the importance of auditors remaining skeptical in every facet of their jobs. A report detailed in the post called for auditors to use context clues instead of management opinions to assess misstatements, thoroughly document completed work and, perhaps most importantly, come to understand the business on an intimate level. There are other skills that auditors should have in their arsenals though.
According to a recent Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) study cited by CFO.com, the hiring rates of internal auditors is increasing this year, which will necessitate that executives understand the traits that should be exhibited by these business professionals as they assess both operating and compliance risks.
The study also determined that auditing teams are becoming increasingly more diverse in their composition, as a variety of skills in addition to rigorous accounting knowledge must now be displayed by these financial professionals.
Nearly 75 percent of businesses that responded to the IIA survey cited analytical and critical thinking as skills they desired in auditors, while communication skills were mentioned by 61 percent, data mining by 50 percent, general IT skills by 49 percent and a high level of business knowledge by 46 percent.
A sense of objectivity was not cited by companies in the survey, but even the most casual observers of the business world should understand that objectivity is of critical importance for auditors. Still, no matter how objective an internal auditor may be, there is always the chance that not enough professional distance exists between management and those individuals.
For some tasks, a company may need to solicit help from an internal audit consultant in order to ensure that their auditors are doing their jobs correctly. Companies may even be best served working with this service provider from day one, when they initially begin recruiting for auditing positions.