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Treat Internal Audit As Trusted Advisors

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ANISHKA COLLIE

By Anishka Collie

Chief Executive

ATC Financial Advisors & Consultants

Internal auditors should be considered trusted advisors who work along with the board and management to help your company achieve its goals and business objectives.

The Internal Audit Department (IAD) must conduct engagements in a professional, impartial and unbiased manner. It has to perform all engagements with due professional care, and in accordance with best practices as recommended by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

The Internal Auditor should perform the following:

• Consult with the Audit Committee and establish clear policies and guidelines for all internal audits and reviews. This includes ensuring rights to due process and the preservation of confidentiality in relation to the information gathered. The internal auditor may also be involved in training facilitation, make recommendations for process design and advisory services. This is established via the Internal Audit Charter.

• Co-ordinate with and provide recommendations for oversight of other control and monitoring committees and functions.These, for example, would include enterprise risk management, treasury, governance, finance, disclosure, ethics, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, security, legal, environmental and external audit functions.

• Be available to receive, directly from individual staff members, complaints or information concerning the possible existence of fraud, waste, abuse of authority, non-compliance with company rules and regulations. This could involve administrative, personnel and other matters, or other irregular activities relevant to the internal auditor.

• The right of all staff to communicate confidentially with, and provide information to, the internal auditor without fear of reprisal shall be guaranteed by the company’s chief executive.

• Internal auditors must co-operate with, and be responsive, to the needs of executive management yet remain independent and objective when assessing management’s performance of its responsibilities.

• Internal auditors must review various business units at appropriate intervals to determine whether the units are functioning in accordance with board and management instructions, policies and procedures, and the high standards of administrative practice. This includes assessing whether risks are appropriately identified and managed.

Reporting

The internal auditor shall attend meetings of the Audit Committee and furnish full reports, analyses, recommendations, advice, and/or summary information on a regular basis concerning the activities reviewed. Specific findings and recommendations of a significant nature are also to be reported in a timely fashion, as well as comments on the status of previous recommendations as required.

NB: Ms Collie has more than 19 years’ experience in external auditing, internal audit, corporate governance, enterprise risk management and internal controls. She focuses on clients in the financial services industry, and has presented at numerous auditing and accounting seminars. Ms Collie is a licensed member of the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) and the current president of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Bahamas chapter.

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