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.