March 27, 2023

ACAEBIN: CIBN President advocates use of technology in internal audit

ACAEBIN: CIBN President advocates use of technology in internal audit

The President and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Ken Opara has urged Internal Auditors to adopt technological innovations for efficiency and better service delivery in the overall interest of the banking sector.  

Opara noted that, ‘the use of technology in internal audit is no longer controversial; it is the way to go.’

The CIBN President also lauded executives and members of Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) for the good work the association is doing to ‘foster competence, cooperation, collaboration, ethical standards, and professionalism among Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) of banks.’

Opara spoke on Thursday as Special Guest of Honour at the 2023 annual retreat and conference of ACAEBIN held at Movenpick Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos. The conference was themed: “Keeping up with the NextGen in Internal Audit”.

ACAEBIN is the umbrella body of all Heads of Internal Audit of banks and Mortgage Institutions, Development Banks including the CBN, NIBSS, FITC, etc.

Breaking down the conceptual meaning of the theme and how it affects the internal audit work chain in a three-phase approach, the CIBN boss explained:

“First and foremost, it means embracing technological advancements. The use of technology in internal audit is no longer controversial, it is the way to go. There are many factors driving the adoption of tech in internal audit including an increase in the volume of data. According to a 2019 report by the ACCA, it is estimated that over 90% of the world’s data has been generated since 2016, and significant amounts of it are financial data. Other drivers include a shift towards automation and a change in business models as a result of innovation in technology.

“With the increasing use of data analytics, artificial intelligence, automation tools, internal audit professionals must be able to utilize these tools to identify risks and essentially add value to their respective organizations.

“In addition, with increased adoption of technological innovations, businesses should in particular be wary of increased cyber threats which has significantly increased since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. For example, according to Businesswire, 81% of global organizations experienced increased cyber threats during COVID-19 and 79% of organizations experienced downtime due to cybersecurity risk during peak season.

“Secondly, keeping up with the NextGen in Internal Audit means, having a deeper understanding of the business domain within which a professional auditor operates. To be effective, internal auditors must have a thorough understanding of their organization’s strategy, operations, and risk landscape. This means working closely with other functions within the organization, such as Finance, ICT, Risk Management, Compliance and Operations, to gain a holistic view of the business. With this understanding, internal auditors can identify emerging risks and ensure that they are adequately addressed. This puts them at an advantage compared to professionals who have not invested time to understand the domain within which they operate.

“Thirdly, keeping up with the NextGen in Internal Audit means, being adaptable and agile. The ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances is becoming increasingly important in the internal audit profession. Internal auditors must be able to respond quickly to changes in business operations, emerging risks, or changes in regulatory requirements. The ability to work in an agile manner, with a focus on continuous improvement, is becoming an essential skill for NextGen internal auditors. According to PWC, 2018 Tangible results from Agile Auditing have included a 20% time saving on regulatory audits and a 10% time saving on less standard audits.”

In his welcome address, chairman of ACAEBIN, Felix Igbinosa there is a need to focus on promoting innovation within the internal audit role, aimed at consciously preparing the next generation of auditors to support firms in their goals of transforming the function into a more efficient and effective one.

“You will agree with me that the next generation of auditors must be men and women who are skilled or have acquired functional knowledge in the application of Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, and process automation, etc. to be more effective and efficient in their delivery to stay relevant. As an Association, it is our duty to partner with stakeholders to bequeath the industry, a generation of auditors that understands the business, the technology, the risks associated with it and how data analytics can be used to improve efficiency – this, we are very passionate about. So, to help us do justice to the above theme and other sub-topics, we have selected a team of seasoned resource persons that will take us on an insightful and impactful knowledge-sharing exercise,” Igbinosa said.