President's message

Learning Agility is key to Staying Ahead

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Takeaways from The Facebook Debacle

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Special Edition

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Culture Matters

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Delivering Value to our Members

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to another fulfilling year ahead.  IIA Singapore (IIAS) is privileged to have the strong support of our members and dedicated professionals as we forge ahead in our pursuit of excellence for the internal audit (IA) profession.

The future offers exciting opportunities for the IA profession. 2017 ended on a positive note with IIAS taking progressive steps to better position our members and raise the profile of IA. In the Committee on the Future Economy’s report, IA has been identified as a high growth practice area in the region. We are making progress towards achieving the goals set out in our 4-year Strategic Plan 2016 to 2020. IIAS is committed to delivering value to our members through expanded training and professional development programmes and advocacy efforts.

With the Strategic Plan that is positioned for growth, the Institute aims to operate on a sustainable financial model to realise its strategic priorities. Our current membership fee is one of the lowest among the accountancy bodies in Singapore. Being a significant component of the Institute’s revenue streams, a fee increase is necessary to cover operating costs and support the expanded initiatives.  Hence, it was announced to members at our 41st AGM in August 2017 that the Institute has to effect a membership fee increase effective 1 June 2018 as a necessary financial sustainability measure. You will receive details of the fee revision along with new CPE requirements and how members can utilise the S$200 worth of training vouchers by end January 2018.

IIAS stays focused on the growth plans and transformation paths in 2018 to pursue our vision for IA professionals to be recognised as indispensable for effective governance, risk management and control.

Tan Boon Yen, CIA, CRMA


The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore 

Looking Ahead to 2018

As the year draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on some of the key priorities in 2018 that should be on the Chief Audit Executive’s (CAE) radar. 


Data and Technology

Data and technology will continue to disrupt and transform organisations. Technology is evolving rapidly with cloud computing, internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics.  CAEs need to incorporate technology into their assurance and advisory roles to keep up with the evolving risks, strategies and needs of their organisations. 



2017 was a year dominated by data breaches and cybersecurity threats.  Cyber risk management will continue to be a strategic priority and CAEs need to recognise the importance of cyber resilience.    

In Singapore, the new Cybersecurity Bill that takes effect in 2018 will empower the relevant authorities to manage cyber incidents and ensure that organisations with critical information infrastructures will responsibly manage cybersecurity risks. 


Geopolitical Risks

Brexit, US President Trump’s government policy, China’s rise as a global power and North Korea’s nuclear threats can pose significant threats to businesses. Internal Audit (IA) needs to support the Board in their risk governance responsibilities and review of the effectiveness of enterprise risk management.


Organisational Culture

Organisational culture and tone at the top can make or break organisations.  CAEs must continue to keep this on the radar as major corporate failures have been attributed to fraud, ethical and conduct issues, and misplaced corporate values.  IA plays a vital role as the trusted advisor of the Board to provide an independent and objective assessment on governance, risk management and internal controls.


In closing, I would like to extend my best wishes to our members and partners and look forward to another exciting year ahead.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Tan Boon Yen, CIA, CRMA


The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore 

Internal Audit in the Era of Disruption

Businesses today are operating in an increasing complex environment, characterised by unprecedented geopolitical and economic uncertainties, the emergence of disruptive technologies, and changing customer expectations and behaviours. 

What is internal audit’s (IA) role in this era of business disruption? 


Let us look at the 2015 IIA Global’s Internal Audit Common Body of Knowledge® Stakeholder Study. 64% of stakeholders indicated they want IA to be more active in strategic risks. 73% of respondents specified IA should consult on business processes while 71% said IA can facilitate and monitor effectiveness of risk management. The findings reinforced the positioning of IA and the opportunities presented to the IA function to be trusted strategic business advisors in addition to its assurance roles.  


In the age of disruption, the Boards are looking to IA to provide assurance and insights as businesses operate in a more challenging environment that requires them to re-assess their business model and operations in order to pursue new business opportunities.  IA needs to be forward thinking and agile to proactively value add in helping businesses and organisations to effectively manoeuvre the changing environment. For example, if the organisation is changing its business model or implementing new systems, IA is well positioned to provide insights on risk, governance and control issues before processes are fully developed.  IA functions also need to re-assess its audit priorities so that they are focused on the Board’s key concerns and are aligned with the key strategic and business objectives.


The future offers exciting opportunities for the IA profession. IIA Singapore supported by our global platform, remains committed to supporting the IA profession’s transformation journey that is evolving from an assurance role to one that is strategy and business risks focused.


Tan Boon Yen, CIA, CRMA


The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore 

IA In the Age of Transformation

Last week, IIA Singapore hosted the Global Internal Audit Leadership Summit and Annual Conference. Speakers and panellists from diverse business sectors and various stakeholder groups converged to share their insights of auditing in the cyber age and how internal audit (IA) can stay ahead of the curve in the age of transformation. 


Just to share a few key points in my opening remarks at the Summit and the Conference.


With the current technologies, disruptions and risks landscape, IA needs to evaluate governance, risk management and internal controls holistically and audit at the speed of risks. IA needs to be agile to continually reinvent itself and continuously learn and deepen knowledge and competencies to remain relevant and effective.


IA needs to work closely with organisations to bridge the cyber readiness gap with the clear and present dangers from data breaches, the Internet-of-Things, among others. Having good insights of the business and the organisation as a whole, internal auditors are well-positioned to be influencers of positive business outcomes with their assurance and advisory roles to their organisations to proactively manage the risks. 


With technology and big-data, the three lines of defence within an organisation can collaborate and derive synergies from embedding robust continuous and predictive monitoring systems throughout the organisation for real time assurance and effective risk management and controls. However, this does not mean that IA’s position, as the 3rd line of defence is no longer relevant. IA’s position in providing independent and objective assurance to the Board and other stakeholders such as the regulators, does not change.  


The conference ended with many useful insights, knowledge and leading practices that I am sure, will inspire everyone in their journey to stay ahead of the curve and be trusted advisors to their organisations.


Tan Boon Yen, CIA, CRMA


The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore

Auditing in the Cyber Age

Disruptive technologies are a reality of the current business environment. In addition to affecting how business is done, the “Internet of things” and the pervasive use of mobile devices further expose organisations to cybersecurity threats. 


Boards and stakeholders are demanding greater assurance that preventive and detective controls established to mitigate cybersecurity risks are adequate and effective. Internal Auditors need to be better aligned with strategies and objectives of the organisation and address both existing and emerging risks associated with it. To achieve this, they need to deepen their knowledge of the business, adopt a strategic mindset and sharpen their leadership and people skills to build an effective relationship with the stakeholders. For example, when a big data audit programme is implemented, Internal Audit (IA) should engage the organisation’s CIO and key leaders to understand the risks in terms of data collection, storage, analysis, security and privacy. By doing this, IA obtains assurance that the big data’s objective of providing critical intelligence is aligned with the enterprise-wide business strategy. 


The fast-paced digital world opens up opportunities for the IA profession. IA has to move towards the use of audit automation tools to transform auditing and improve audit effectiveness. For example, the use of data analytics tool provides insights to improve decision-making and it also decodes certain underlying trends or anomalies that could be an indicator of more pervasive problems. 


Our Global Internal Audit Leadership Summit and Annual Conference will be held from 25 to 27 October 2017. Learn from distinguished speakers, Audit Committee members, Chief Audit Executives, and ask yourself if you can stand up against “The Cyber Resilience Challenge”? How do you tackle “Auditing Big Data”?  Here’s also where you will find out more about ‘Innovative and Agile Internal Auditing at Google”. 


Early bird registration closes on 22 September. Register now.


Tan Boon Yen, CIA, CRMA


The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore

Stepping Up The Value Of Internal Audit

To step up the value proposition of internal audit, Internal Auditors (IA) must keep up with both the internal and external environment that their organisations operate in. It is important for IA to keep up with emerging trends and risks to effectively meet and exceed their stakeholders’ expectations.


Consider the following I-I-A-S points as a constant reminder to stay abreast and value-add to your organisations:


Be Insightful – IA must be in touch with developments not only locally but around the world. Look out for trends and developments that can destabilise your organisation e.g. geopolitical instabilities and emerging technology and threats. Be conscious of unhealthy cultures in the operating environment. 


Be Innovative – Step out of your comfort zone and dare to harness technology to devise new and efficient ways of auditing. Amongst others, IA needs to re-invent itself with emphasis on soft skills, change in mindset and thinking out-of-the-box.


Be Agile – Businesses are affected by change. Innovate ways of partnering your stakeholders and seek their inputs to provide real time assurance. Engage stakeholders continuously to bridge any gaps in expectations and priorities.


Be Strategic-Minded – Understand business strategy, hone your business acumen skills by acquiring industry knowledge. Understand what is important for the growth and sustainability of the business and align internal audit efforts to support business strategies.


Be in touch with IIA Singapore. We work hard and continue to be a professional body that is resolved to support the development of the profession. Our members are recognised as indispensable to their organisations for effective governance, risk management, and control. Our global platform is an excellent conduit for keeping in touch with local and global standards, trends and best practices.


Yours Sincerely
Tan Boon Yen