This year our National Conference saw some really clear messages coming through from the speakers. Being prepared for new frontiers requires acute awareness of where the changes in the world are taking us and how they will impact on our organisations. There are definite shifts in global economic and political power as well as increasing resource constraints. In addition we are seeing changes in the social fabric of our society and a shift in values as the new generations come through. There is a greater need for sound governance principles as the complexities and associated risks increase in the process. The world is changing fast and our organisations need to adapt at a faster rate if they are to survive. This is where internal audit can increase the value that they add in organisations. Being aware of the trends and being the trusted advisor (in the words of one of the speakers: being the go-to-guy) in these volatile times adds to the internal auditor being an indispensible pillar in the organisation.
During the conference we were reminded of the importance of our individual and collective responsibility to society and the earth. We were once again awakened to the degree to which human nature, when unchecked, can wreak havoc and that the need for greater accountability is now more necessary than ever. We were reminded that as individual citizens we have to speak up against what is wrong in our society and become actively involved in creating a better future. What other profession is in a better position to heed that call? Internal audit is uniquely positioned to speak to the conscience of their organisations. But, we were also reminded that accountability starts with us.
We celebrated many successes, but not least of all the awards given to two very worthy organisations. ABSA received the award for Best Contribution to the Internal Audit Profession in South Africa. The nomination was based on the fact that ABSA has made a significant financial contribution to the creation of a Masters degree in internal audit at the University of Pretoria. In terms of the IIA SA career path standards, CAEs in large or complex organisations should have a Masters degree. ABSA’s donation enabled the establishment of the Masters degree, which we believe is a first in the world as it has brought three partners together which includes the University of Pretoria, Gibs Business School and Erasmus University in the Netherlands. Thus bringing various dimensions which include the business and international aspects.
The second award was given to the Local Government Seta which has pledged R 3.89mil to the training of internal auditors in municipalities through the Internal Audit Technician program. This award is a new category which was specifically created for the Best Contribution to the IIA SA’s Learnership Program. With the funding received from the LGSeta, the Institute will be able to train 200 internal auditors at local government level over the next 2 years. This is a significant breakthrough for the Institute’s learnership program as well as the capacity building efforts in the public sector.
In addition, a number of important announcements were made during the conference. I will share the most important one with you. At the beginning of 2010 the IIA SA Board, in response to the requests from leaders in the profession, decided to place a greater emphasis on the professionalization of internal audit. As a result it was decided that the time has come for internal auditors to serve articles before becoming CIAs. The Institute embarked on a two-phased approach. In the first phase its recommendation was that internal auditors should first go through the two learnerships (IAT and GIA) before entering the CIA program. The second phase would usher in the era of the learnerships becoming a compulsory entry requirement to the CIA program. The Board has now made a decision on the date at which time we will enter the compulsory phase. Please see the video below this blog for the formal announcement.
As we enter the new frontiers, we must be prepared for the new world order. Part of being prepared inevitably means converting ourselves into lifelong learners who have mastered adaptability as a key skill. Without these, events will overtake us. I therefore encourage us all to ensure that we are prepared for the new frontiers and ensure that we remain ahead of the consequences of the inevitable dramatic shifts.Let me end off by saying that it would be amiss of me to not direct you to or Facebook page where the evidence of a great conference is laid bare for all to see. We’ve posted the pictures there. Go and have a peek.