The internal audit function has evolved through the years yet there are still a number of myths that continue to surround the profession. In today’s post recognizing Internal Audit Awareness Month, we’ll dive into three common misperceptions to help us better understand “what is internal audit?”

According to our friends at the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), internal audit has three pillars: Assurance, Insight and Objectivity while the following graph summarizes its core function.

Now that we know how the internal audit landscape is defined by governing standards, let’s see how the following myths stack up against the real deal.

Myth #1: Internal Audit is the corporate “police function.”

At Stinnett, Internal Audit is a key competency of our firm. We avoid the industry’s stereotypical “policeman” mentality by focusing beyond compliance to deliver valuable results. Our team develops risk-focused internal audit plans to help address matters which impact the client’s vision and goals most. In fact, our cornerstone philosophy is that internal audit performed correctly results in process improvement. Due to the multitude of clients for whom we provide outsource and co-source internal audit services, Stinnett has developed a robust audit framework that is consistent with AICPA and IIA standards.

Myth #2: Auditors are nit-pickers and fault-finders.

According to IIA president and CEO Richard Chambers, internal audit’s focus is on major risks rather than on nit-picking details. Audit resources are limited, and when auditors focus too much attention on minor issues, they are limiting the time available for addressing the major risks and controls that are at the heart of internal audit. Any auditor would rather report on a $6 million cost savings than on a $6 error!

Myth #3: Internal auditors are accountants by training.

A survey by The IIA’s Audit Executive Center indicates that audit executives are now recruiting job applicants with analytical/critical thinking ability, data mining skills, business acumen, and IT skills more often than they seek applicants with accounting training. Stinnett’s internal audit team holds degrees ranging from accounting, finance and engineering to a multitude of certifications including information systems, financial systems, fraud and business continuity. This diversification produces a network of professional advisors with deep technical expertise, superb communication and the creative thinking necessary to accelerate success for our clients.

Don’t miss next week’s blog on Vendor Audit with Stinnett San Antonio Senior Manager Steve Kienlen.