Protiviti hosts event to discuss ways to embrace next generation of internal audit

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Audit firm Protiviti MENA recently organized an event at Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh to discuss the need and importance of embracing the next generation of internal audit. (Supplied)
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Audit firm Protiviti MENA recently organized an event at Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh to discuss the need and importance of embracing the next generation of internal audit. (Supplied)
Updated 11 November 2019

Protiviti hosts event to discuss ways to embrace next generation of internal audit

RIYADH: Audit firm Protiviti MENA recently organized an event at Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh to discuss the need and importance of embracing the next generation of internal audit.

The discussion was led by a panel of seasoned and experienced internal audit professionals, comprising Phillip Fretwell, managing director at Protiviti, Abdullah Al-Rowais, Chief Audit Executive, Etihad Etisalat Company, Abdullah Al-Anizi, Chief Audit Executive, Saudi Telecom Company, Rogier Dolleman, Audit Head – Business Management at SABB and Sukhdev Bal, managing director of Protiviti UK. 

The session was marked by the presence of prominent business leaders and chief audit executives (CAE) from several large businesses in Saudi Arabia. The discussions revolved around how internal audit, as a function, needs to evolve and adapt to today’s dynamic business environment amidst a wave of digital and technological advancement and transformation. 

Fretwell said: “Organizations have started their transformation journey and anticipate significant progress over the next two years. It is important for CAEs to balance new internal audit models with the right technology, resources and methodologies, as well as governance and infrastructure, to create value and continue to be relevant.” 

Sanjeev Agarwal, CEO at Protiviti MENA said: “As the Kingdom starts to accelerate its digital agenda, it is time for businesses to adopt innovative technologies and challenge the way they currently operate.

“This is especially true for internal audit functions, which need to evolve to remain relevant in the highly competitive business landscape. We believe that embracing next-generation internal audit competencies will help these companies transform their businesses by providing effective and proactive risk management for future growth.” 

Adnan Zakariya, country managing director for KSA, said: “The timing of these deliberations on the next-generation internal audit could not be better as companies prepare to meet the strategic objectives of KSA Vision 2020. We closely work with almost all leading organizations in the Kingdom, providing diverse solutions across the government, telecom, banking & financial services, healthcare as well as energy and utilities sectors.” 

The event witnessed an insightful and thought-provoking panel discussion around the readiness of internal audit in the Kingdom to take the ensuing big leap and the importance of having the right mix of people and skills to champion the cause of the next-generation of internal audit. 

Moderating the interactions amongst high-powered panelists, Amit Ray, managing director - Data Analytics & Digital Transformation, said: “Change is all about intent and perseverance. While there are challenges to this transformation, opportunities are enormous. We should look beyond short term gains to drive sustainable change – if we want to innovate we also need to be able to embrace failure along the way, but learn quickly from our mistakes and chart our course – because it is no longer a matter of ‘if’ we need to change, it’s a matter of ‘when’.” 

Also commenting on this was Sanjay Rajagopalan, managing Director of internal audit, who said: “Evolving the internal audit function into a next gen role requires not just an agile approach but also a culture and mindset that focus on continued innovation. The board, management and audit professionals have to come together for this endeavor.” 

As thought leader, Protiviti has been working closely with professional forums such as the Institute of Internal Auditors and global organizations in driving innovative transformational changes and adoption of emerging technologies in the internal audit profession.


SAGIA, Xylem ink $50m MoU to advance water security

Updated 05 December 2019

SAGIA, Xylem ink $50m MoU to advance water security

Water technology firm Xylem has signed an MoU with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), representing an investment of $50 million. The agreement aims to expand Xylem’s manufacturing footprint into the Kingdom, and to better serve its portfolio of customers in Saudi Arabia and across the region.

Under the MoU, Xylem will work with SAGIA to develop and localize advanced water and wastewater products and technologies to address water challenges in Saudi Arabia, as well as increase its footprint of service points and rental fleets across the Kingdom. A core objective of the MoU is to accelerate adoption of digital water solutions and optimize utility networks across the Kingdom.

The proposed multimillion-dollar investment will not only help build a vibrant local supply chain, but also see Xylem bringing additional commercial opportunities into the Kingdom, with the wider aim of improving water solutions locally. The agreement is in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to promote economic diversification through investments in localization that will also contribute to the export of “Made in Saudi” products across the world.

The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), commonly known as the “Davos in the Desert,” by Ibrahim A. Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, and Steven Leung, senior vice president and president, emerging markets of Xylem, in the presence of senior officials of both entities and Frank Ackland, managing director Xylem Middle East.

Al-Omar said: “As Saudi Arabia welcomes investors and decision-makers from across the globe to this annual global investment platform, the agreements exchanged here reflect the strength and diversity of the economy. Under Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undergoing an ambitious program of economic reform, and the world is taking notice. This month, Saudi Arabia climbed 30 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report, becoming the most improved economy globally. The indicators are
clear: Saudi Arabia is not only open for business, it’s the economy of the future.”

Leung added: “As Xylem continues to lead the water sector’s digital transformation globally, this MoU presents an opportunity to leverage our market-leading portfolio and application expertise to advance water security in Saudi Arabia. Through our investment of $50 million, and with our strong presence in Saudi Arabia, backed by our dedicated office and team, we are committed to creating in-Kingdom value through our investments and partnerships. We are thankful to SAGIA for the opportunity to directly contribute our expertise to the development vision of the leadership, as the Kingdom embarks on its ambitious transformation program.”