Companies smarten up to internal data audits
March 20, 2012
Government and industry regulators have been preaching the benefits of internal data audits for years, but the latest report from PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that companies are finally starting to listen after a historically challenging year for the media management profession.
PwC's 2012 State of the Internal Audit Profession survey elicited responses from more than 1,500 professionals working in 16 industries across 64 countries. Researchers added a twist to this year's edition of the report, polling the opinions of stakeholders outside of the internal audit arena - including chief financial officers and chief executive officers.
Not surprisingly, analysts found that economic uncertainties were driving companies to allocate additional resources to internal audit teams in the hopes of rooting out fraud and inefficiency. However, this focus led them to break ground in some unexpected areas. For instance, data privacy and security became the single most requested area for internal auditing assistance, with 46 percent of all stakeholders diverting resources in this direction.
Concerns over the escalation and evolution of government compliance programs also drew increased attention from internal data audit teams with approximately one-third of companies bolstering capabilities in this area.
"To deliver what stakeholders want, the standard for an effective internal audit function has been raised and internal audit needs to elevate its performance to meet the always increasing stakeholder expectations," PwC spokesman Dean Simone explained. "Businesses must evaluate total enterprise risk, coordinate with the internal audit functions and break down organizational barriers to provide a holistic approach to risk management."
According to the report, internal data audit teams from leading companies stand out from their counterparts by providing detailed advice on risks and potential controls as opposed to simply reporting gaps in the media management equation.