President's message

Building Collaborative Relationships

As the Lunar Year of the Monkey swings its way into our lives, let us all have a year filled with an abundance of joy, prosperity and good luck!! The IIA Singapore (IIAS) turns 40 this year and we look forward to kick off our 40th anniversary with our annual Lunar New Year Lo-Hei luncheon on 19 February 2016.

 

With the uncertainties and slow down in many economies, businesses need to be agile to effectively manage the risks and seek opportunities in a more challenging climate. For Internal Audit (IA) to effectively discharge its responsibilities in evaluating and improving the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes, it needs to work closely with its stakeholders to better align it focus and anticipate emerging risks. Recognizing the importance of this, IIAS plans to organise various events that also involve the IA stakeholders e.g. the Audit Committee (AC) and senior management, to provide a forum for interaction. Frequent and open communications with stakeholders are necessary not only for IA to better understand their expectations, but also for IA to “market” its capabilities and initiatives and share valuable insights so that stakeholders better appreciate the value of IA. To quote a couple of points made at the 2015 Asia Internal Audit Leadership Programme (jointly organised by the Singapore Accountancy Commission and IIAS) which aptly describes the need for IA to build collaborative relationships - a) “IA can exercise influence though they do not hold formal authority” and b) “Influence trumps authority. Exercise a firm but moderating influence so as to bring people along with the plan while ensuring the plan is feasible and practical”.

 

Let us all work towards building and managing effective stakeholder relationships. I would like to wish all a smooth sailing 2016 despite the ups and downs that we should take in our stride.

 

Yours Sincerely

Tan Boon Yen

President

Upcoming Public Sector IA (PSIA) Conference

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Tharman, spoke at the Public Service Leadership Dinner, highlighting several priorities for the Public Sector. One of it was to develop pools of expertise to meet emerging and complex challenges and another priority – to strengthen a culture of lifelong learning among public officers. 

 

It will be useful to note that the IIA Global Internal Audit Competency Framework (“The Framework”) has defined the competencies needed for internal auditors to meet the requirements of the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF)® for the success of the internal audit profession. The Framework provides a structured guide, enabling the identification, evaluation, and development of those competencies in individual internal auditors. It covers 10 core competencies within 6 categories i.e. Improvement and Innovation, Internal Audit Delivery, Personal Skills, Technical Expertise, Internal Audit Management and Professional Ethics. 

 

The IIA Singapore (IIAS) will continue to provide platforms for the sharing of ideas and expertise, and to develop the skills of internal auditors through education and professional development. The 2016 PSIA Conference is themed, “New Horizon for Public Sector: Governance, Risk, Internal Control”. In an increasingly complex and dynamic environment, IA needs to keep pace with the external and internal environments, understand the strategic directions and changes in the public sector landscape to effectively discharge its responsibilities to provide assurance that public resources are managed responsibly and effectively. 

 

IIAS will be inviting close to 20 leading practitioners and experts to share their knowledge, experience, best practices and current issues and development at the 2016 PSIA conference on 21-22 April, Marina Bay Sands, Sands Expo & Convention Center. We look forward to another fruitful conference and look forward to seeing you there.

 

Wishing all a great year ahead and also a Happy and Prosperous Lunar New Year!!

 

Yours Sincerely

Tan Boon Yen

President

Looking Forward To An Exciting 2016

It is the time of the year when we reflect on the achievements and make resolutions for the new year. It is also a time when we unwind a little, after all, everyone has earned a well deserved break to enjoy the festive cheer and holidays.

 

2016 will be a significant year for The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore (IIAS) as the Singapore chapter will be 40 years old. There will be activities and events held throughout the year to celebrate our anniversary with our members, collaborating partners and institutes and the larger community.  It is a time to celebrate our achievements and commemorate the efforts of all that made the IIAS journey worthwhile and beneficial to the IA professionals, its stakeholders and the business community. Incidentally, The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) in the US will also be celebrating its 75th anniversary next year. 2016 will be an exciting year for all of us!

 

In conjunction with the 40th anniversary celebrations, IIAS will be hosting the Asian Confederation Institute of Internal Auditors (ACIIA) Conference in November 2016.  ACIIA is a confederation of seventeen IIA affiliates in the Asia Pacific region that aims to provide dynamic leadership for the IA profession by coordinating the development, enhancement and promotion of the IA profession in the Asian Region. Do look out for activities and programmes in the IA Awareness month which is in May 2016. IIAS will continue to work with various collaborating partners to organize seminars, talks and training programmes that addresses not only the needs of IA practitioners but also very importantly, our stakeholders e.g. the Audit Committee and the C-Suites. Together with our collaborating partners, we will continue to organize leadership programmes and conferences, tailored to meet the needs of IA leaders. 

 

We look forward to an exciting year ahead working towards greater progress with the profession and advancing the value of IA to our organizations.

 

Wishing all a blessed Christmas and New Year!

 

Yours Sincerely
Tan Boon Yen
President

Journey towards IA Excellence

The Internal Audit Excellence Award ("IAEA") was presented at the Securities Investors' Association (Singapore) Investors' Choice Awards dinner on 16 October 2015. The IAEA honours and recognises public-listed companies that have put in place an effective internal audit function to enhance corporate governance, risk management and internal controls.  IIA Singapore congratulates this year's award winner SMRT Corporation Ltd and the runners-up i.e. Frasers Centrepoint Limited and Keppel Corporation Limited. Also, congratulations to Ms. Tan Eng Hwa, General Manager, Group Internal Audit, Keppel Corporation Limited, who is the Special Recognition Award Recipient. The excellent standards and achievements set by the award winners serve as a beacon for the internal audit profession to aspire to.

 

At this time of the year, Internal Audit (IA) functions will be reviewing and  updating their  IA  plan for 2016.  It is important to seek inputs of stakeholders e.g.  the Audit Committee, senior and operating management as well  as  compliance  and risk management units to understand the short and longer term businesses  strategies  and objectives, given the challenging times  ahead for most businesses and to better address the emerging risks that will impact organization. IA's efforts need to be clearly aligned to help organizations succeed in managing risks as it pursues new business goals and initiatives.

 

At the IIA Singapore's Global Leadership Summit and Annual Conference themed  "Agents  of  Change, Pillars of Control" last month, there were interesting discussions  and  insights  not only from IA practitioners but also from IA stakeholders e.g. the Audit Committee Chairs or Members, CEOs and CFOs. Useful inputs, ideas and view points were gathered during the conference and I am  sure it will spur many IA practitioners to venture beyond the norms to transform and  progress  to being strategic advisors and value add partners to their organizations.

 

Some of the key takeaways are:

a) Internal auditors need to be good communicators and must be able to establish  rapport  and  gain  the  trust  of  their stakeholders, namely the Audit Committee and senior management. Auditors need to connect  with  the  business  people, build strong relationships with business leaders in order to better understand their expectations, business issues and strategies. Communications would also include sharing valuable insights acquired by IA across the organization to address silos and improve coordination  across the organization. 

b) IA  needs to understand the real world business and commercial issues  and look at internal controls with the bigger business agenda in mind. Some organizations put internal auditors on immersion programs that include short term secondments to business or operating units. IA efforts should be aligned with business strategy and provide both  assurance  and advisory support to the board and senior management in the effective business strategy implementation.

c) Internal auditors need to continually adapt, keep up with and leverage  on technology, internal and environment changes and demands to remain relevant and add value to organizations. The CAE of DBS shared how the internal audit in DBS IA has evolved to adopting continuous and predictive auditing. The CAE of Ayala Corporation in the Philippines shared how they have geared up to be a business enabler and partner.

 

As we plan our strategies and focus of IA for the coming year(s), it is important  to plan and build up resources which include competencies and skill sets, engaging external  specialists  and  other enablers to improve the effectiveness  and  efficiency of IA operations. The journey towards IA excellence requires Internal Auditors to continually develop and invest in  themselves  through  learning  and  development, certification and qualification, networking and relationship building at different platforms e.g. conferences,   volunteering  in  IIA  institutes  and committees,  research and education and advocacy activities to promote the value of IA profession.  On this note, it is IIA Singapore's mission to  lead the IA profession and advance its value to organizations and we will  continue  to  provide the platforms through seminars and conferences, the  IIA  Academy as well as participate and provide support in research and promote the importance of IA function to its stakeholders.

 

Yours Sincerely

Tan Boon Yen

President

Agents of Change, Pillars of Control

The  2015  Global  IA  Leadership Summit & Annual Conference with the theme "Agents of Change, Pillars of Control" will be held this week from 14 to 16 October 2015 at the Marina Mandarin Hotel.

 

The inaugural Global Internal Audit Leadership Summit on 14 October 2015 is organized  together  with Singapore Accountancy Commission as our strategic partner. One  of  the  main  objectives  of  the  summit  is to create a collaborative environment for internal audit professionals and stakeholders to share their knowledge and experiences and also to develop new ideas to bring  internal  audit to the next level. The views of IA stakeholders i.e. the Audit Committee  and members of the C-Suites, will be sought on IA as change agents as they keep watch over the organization's pillars of control in  the increasingly challenging and complex business and regulatory environment. Various IA leaders will share valuable insights on the strategies of building an IA function to transform internal auditing into a well-recognized, value-adding activity to all stakeholders.

 

The Leadership Summit will be followed by a 2-day Annual  Conference with an excellent line up of both local and global speakers as well as practitioners in their fields of expertise. The speakers will share insights based on their experiences  in areas such as leading IA practices, ERM, procurement, fraud investigation, data  analytics,  fighting  corruption, cyber security and sustainability reporting.  Participants will also hear from the panelists who represent different IA stakeholder groups, their views and expectations of IA and how we can bridge the gaps.

 

Through this conference, IIA Singapore also hopes to create open communication  channels  between IA and its stakeholders; generate awareness of  the  unique  perspectives that IA has on an entity-wide basis at all levels; and the capabilities IA has to synergize, coordinate and offer more insightful, practical and effective advice.

 

Do join us at our Global Leadership Summit and Annual Conference this week to learn, share, exchange ideas and experiences and network with one another. Looking forward to catching up with all at the conference and another fruitful conference!

 

Yours Sincerely

Tan Boon Yen

President

IA’s Mission Statement

"To enhance and protect organizational value by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice, and insight." This is the new mission statement that has been added to the new IPPF 2015 dated 29 July 2015. It aptly defines the core purposes of an internal auditing function and the context within which the strategies of internal audit (IA) should be formulated to remain relevant and effectively meet the expectations of its stakeholders. The enhanced IPPT also includes 10 over-arching core principles that form part of the mandatory guidance framework.  Other than the core principles of integrity, competence and independence, the other core principles are that IA needs to be insightful, proactive and future-focused and be aligned with the strategies, objectives and risks of the organization. IA should also promote organizational improvement. 

 

In an increasingly complex, fast-paced and volatile environment, organizations need to review both their long and short term business strategies and objectives to effectively anticipate and proactively manage risks in order to survive and achieve sustainable long term growth and success.  Regulators and other stakeholders have also stepped up their expectations on management’s and Board of Director’s responsibilities on corporate governance, internal control and risk management.  IA’s focus must therefore be aligned with the business strategies and objectives. Also, by virtue of the knowledge that is acquired by IA in the business, processes and systems of an organization and the interaction that IA has at all staff and management levels, IA is well-positioned to be an advisor to management in areas such as business process improvements or as an alert mechanism to “blind spots” in risk management. 

 

The role of IA is very well encapsulated in the Mission Statement and 10 core principles of the enhanced IPPF 2015.  This is a significant step forward in elevating IA’s position as a valued resource and business partner.  As IA practitioners, we should all be prepared to review our strategy and approach and build up the resources and core competencies to strive toward this mission. 

 

Yours Sincerely

Tan Boon Yen

President

Reaching out to the students

SMU introduced the Internal Audit (IA) elective in 2013. There are altogether four successful runs and it is a collaborative effort between SMU and IIAS. This is a unique programme which draws in IA industry practitioners to share their expertise, experiences and ideas with the students.Throughout the 4 runs of IA Electives, we have esteemed Heads of IA from various industries, ranging from banking, hospitality, food, professional service providers participating in this programme. Furthermore, Panel Discussions made of these Heads of IA were also held to allow the students the chance to hear and discuss what are the thinking of IA thought leaders on future of IA. It ends with a case study and presentation where the teams of students would be given an opportunity to demonstrate and apply what they have learned through out the course and compete for the top awards before a panel of judges. This programme equips and  provides them the essentials of IA and to prepare them to to be market ready and job ready when they graduate. 

 

Come this August 2015 which will be our 5th run of IA elective. It has been selected to be part of SMU X project. This new approach is market driven and an initiative by SMU starting this new academic year to have their lessons centered on solving real-world problems through projects with mentors guiding them. Thus, the SMU X IA Elective has now been redesigned to focus on the problem solving aspects of the students in IA issues and challenges in various industry sectors. 

 

It has been an exciting 2 years for IIAS and we have received numerous letters from students expressing their appreciation of the IA Elective. . Some of the students have also chosen to start their careers in internal audit as they graduated from SMU. 

 

As Singapore envisions itself to be transformed into a leading global Accountancy Hub, the SMU IA elective is a strategic step towards building awareness and interest amongst the students in pursuing internal audit as a career profession.  

 

Yours Sincerely

Eric Lim

President

Good corporate governance requires courageous Internal Auditors

In his June Blogpost, Richard Chambers, The IIA’s President and CEO, highlighted lessons IA could glean from the current scandal associated with FIFA, soccer’s global governing body.  In addition to establishing that IA must act swiftly in addressing reputational risks, play a significant role in crisis planning and execution as well as stay current with anti-corruption legislation, he emphasized the need for IA to be courageous and to be able to raise the “yellow card” when corporate culture creates susceptibility to corruption.

IA’s primary role and function in any organisation should, further to the technical competencies and know-how, possess the courage to present an honest analysis of the organisation’s corporate culture and practices, regardless of the consequences he/she may have to manage. Without this, a message of failure emerges, signalling a “compromise” of our ethical culture. When confronted with evidence supporting irregularities and unethical behaviour, IAs should be courageous to report them.  In fact, IA's code embraces integrity to work toward protecting an organisation’s interests. An organisation’s reputation has always been high on Internal Auditors’ list of priorities as fraud and corruption can run rife in any organisation, regardless of size, scale, reach or industry and especially when governance is weak. Furthermore, keeping watch for the Board has never been more important, in order to support any organisation responsibly. 

 

Yours Sincerely
Eric Lim
President

Why internal audit is integral to an organisation’s success

Adopting good governance, risk management and control practices are key to a company's success and internal audit has an integral role in keeping watch, evaluating that the procedures to these processes are observed and effective. Why? With the issuance of the Code of Corporate Governance in Singapore in 2001, followed by two revisions in 2005 and 2012 respectively, there is a continual emphasis under Principle 13 for internal auditors to carry out their function according to the standards set by national or internationally recognised professional bodies, including the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing, IIA. The IIA Standards cover the evaluation of the effectiveness of governance, risk management and control processes. With reference to this, internal auditors should therefore ensure to the best of their capability, that organisations are able to meet this standard, when performing their audit work. This takes on an increased importance when section 4 on internal audit in the revised Guidebook for Audit Committees in Singapore repeatedly reinforces the Code Guideline, especially reflecting the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing set by IIA.

Yours Sincerely
Eric Lim
President

May is International Internal Audit Awareness Month

Similar to how February is deemed Hollywood’s most important month because it’s when Oscars are presented to the most deserving of films, May is when IIA Singapore champions our most prized asset: You – our Internal Audit practitioner! This May, IIA Singapore will spare no effort in further championing the profession, from educating youth in considering a rewarding career in Internal Audit to charting lucrative career advancements for current practitioners as part of International Internal Audit Awareness Month.

 

Join us for a lunch and learn session on 15 May where IIA Singapore with KPMG will present the Audit Committee’s Challenges and The Changing Role of Internal Audit. If you’re an IIA member currently serving or considering to serve on the board or audit committees of a charity / non-profit organisation, sign up for the complimentary networking lunchtime talk on Balancing the Governance Triangle, hosted by Shared Services Charities (SSC), an event which IIA Singapore is proud to support. This month also earmarks the inaugural Asia Internal Audit Leadership Programme, an effort which IIA Singapore is proud to be a part of, together with esteemed partners, the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) and TMS Academy.

 

Through efforts in advocacy, education and membership, you can now obtain a wealth of information in internal auditing at iia.org.sg. Find out how you can enjoy our events, sign up for our training programmes and obtain various certifications to embark upon or advance your career in internal audit now!

 

Yours Sincerely

Eric Lim

President