President's message

Demonstrate IAs' Uniqueness

Internal Auditing is a unique profession. Hence, it should be viewed as a unique value adder. When do we demonstrate IAs’ uniqueness? One best time should be when we conduct auditing. IAs must be able to provide unique insights from our observations during auditing which are unfathomable to the process owners and management. Equally important, the solutions that come with it must be unique too. This may be easier said than done but this should be something IAs should strive for. Food for thought!

Yours Sincerely

Eric Lim

President

Productivity is the key to competitiveness

From 2008 to 2013, Singapore’s GDP grew at an average annual rate of 6.8% whilst the labour workforce grew at 3.4% with a majority of negative productivity growth during the same period. 

 

Being an open economy and without natural resources, Singapore needs to be competitive otherwise it finds it difficult to export goods and services competitively as well as attract investments to grow its economy.  Hence, productivity is crucial to maintain our competiveness. Acknowledging its importance, the Singapore Budget 2010 set the target of 2% - 3% productivity growth over the next decade to drive 60% of future Gross Domestic Product growth.

 

Generally, productivity is a measure of how efficiently and effectively a business or an economy uses inputs such as labour and capital to produce goods and services. It is not only about controlling costs in the businesses but “doing things right” and “doing the right things” and doing them well to achieve maximum efficiency and value.

 

Where and what can the internal auditors offer in the organisations they work for. Let us re-examine our internal auditing definition, i.e. “…it is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisations’ operations.” It is without much doubt that IAs do play a greater role in the organisations to help management enhance productivity. As a matter of fact, our Annual Work Plans would have include projects relating to operational auditing, value for money audit, performance audit or 3 Es. Of course, we should acknowledge that the business owners too play a role in enhancing productivity too. Should IAs re-think and think big, and work together with the key stakeholders on the things that matters to the organisations so as to be seen as a valued player to achieving the overall goal of the organisations?

 

Yours Sincerely

Eric Lim

President

Job Rotation
Most top organisations have HR policies that contribute to strong Corporate Governance; one of which is the job rotation scheme. This policy is with good intent. Some use it to groom staff for higher appointment while others use it to develop their staff through enhancing their skill set, knowledge and experience to better contribute in their jobs. However, there is limitation among others on job rotation as not all staff can be rotated to another job or can be easily rotated due to the nature of the work. Where a company practices job rotation, cost may be a concern, as it comes with a learning curve that consumes time and efforts and to a certain extent, operational disruption to the organisation. Notwithstanding this, rotation would more likely to bring net positive effect if it is properly planned and managed. As internal auditors, we may view job rotation as part of HR policy to contribute to corporate governance. This is where staff manning new work area has its merits. Being new, he will likely to go through the policies, procedures and systems and reports so as to understand the operations. Armed with his prior experience, he may be able to recommend changes to make the operation more robust. This staff rotation is like management directing its own “auditor” to self-audit its activities. While in the scheme, the staff will apart from gaining fresh perspective may bring positive outcome where he may spot pleasant and unpleasant things such as potential or real control weaknesses. With such schemes, most incumbents will buck up to ensure that their systems and activities perform efficiently and effectively with no unusual activities as most would not want a new comer to provide negative outcomes but positive outcomes. The new comers even so would be motivated to do well to exhibit their contributions. The view is that the job rotation scheme acts as a preventive mechanism to deter staff from committing unacceptable activities and motivate them to perform well; as well as a detective mechanism to uncover unacceptable behaviour and undesirable activities. We have seen a number of cases where staff under job rotation scheme prevented and uncovered wrong doings. Of course, there are other mechanisms to do this as well. Internal Auditors may value job rotation as one possible form of recommendation in enhancing the organisational governance framework. Yours Sincerely Eric Lim President

Reporting Line of Chief Audit Executive?

Who CAEs report to varies from companies to companies. We have seen that some CAEs report to ACs, some to CEOs, some to COOs, some to CFOs, CTOs and so on.

 

Why the variations?  There could be multiple of "theories".  Some organisations value the objectivity and independence of CAEs, thus making them report to the ACs. Some decide to let CAEs report to CEOs so that the latter will be abreast of what goes on in the organisations. There are others which may not see the importance of positioning the CAEs appropriately in the organisation, thus making them report to someone like COO, CFO, and CIO from the C-suite.

 

There are some who asked, what should be the ideal reporting line for CAEs? 

  

The question is answered in the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF), the global authoritative guidance on internal audit profession.  The IPPF Standards requires that the IA activity must be independent. So, under Standards 1110, the CAE must report to a level within the organisation that allows the IA activity to fulfill its responsibilities. The CAE must confirm to the board, at least annually, the organisational independence of the IA activity.

 

With this, to achieve organizational independence, the IPPF Practice Advisory 1110-1 advises dual reporting where the CAE reports functionally to the AC and administratively to the organisation’s CEO. Reporting functionally to AC/Board would enable the CAE to help AC in its oversight role and providing independent and objective assurance that governance, risk and control processes are functioning effectively. Noting that CAE is still part of the organisation, thus his administrative relationship with the CEO will enable him to execute his IA functions effectively to meet the mission of the organisation.  

 

It is important to note that the Principle 13 of the Singapore Code of Corporate Governance (the “Code”) states that the company should establish an IA function that reports functionally to the AC Chairman and reports administratively to the CEO, which adopt the guidance of IPPF.  Although compliance to the Code under the purview of SGX and the MAS is not a must, listed companies are required under the SGX Listing Rules to give explanations for deviations from the Code in their annual reports.

 

To check the robustness of the CAE reporting line, we should ask whether the relationship provide independence and objectivity in the IA work. If it does not, as conflict of interest exists, then this relationship needs to be reviewed otherwise it may jeopardise the interest of the organization; and the stakeholders may suffer because of lack of independence and objectivity.      

 

The solution is for AC to work with management to come up with a resolution that addresses both the management’s concerns and the AC’s need for an independent assessment of internal controls. Furthermore, the AC could make assessments on whether the IA function that reports direct to AC would be better supported if it reports administratively to the CEO.

 

To conclude, all parties should use the IPPF as a guide in coming with the reporting structure that provides the best governance for the organisations.

 

Yours Sincerely

Eric Lim

President

Building Capability and Capacity

Internal auditing services are growing in demand in organisations today as organisations are facing numerous challenges on many fronts; such as increasingly complex business environment, evolving regulations and organizational changes. Demands may also arise from regulatory authorities, board, CEO/senior management, line managers and external auditor. 

 

As it is CAE’s responsibility to ensure that IA resources are appropriate, sufficient and effective, he too has the responsibility to ensure its capability and capacity are ready to meet the stakeholders' demand and expectations. However, what could CAE do if IA’s capability or capacity is inadequate or both are inadequate? Generally, apart from adding manpower and tools, out-sourcing, co-sourcing or in sourcing would be one or a combination of these actions taken. The resourcing of IA activity should be planned ahead during the annual workplan stage as additional budget would be needed if the audit activities are to be outsourced and/or when internal resources such as manpower and facilities are required from other departments. However, the resourcing could be quite challenging for those IAs which may not have the budgets or/and avenues to build their capability and capacity and even so if they lack support from their boards/managements .  

 

Hence, it is always a great challenge for CAEs is to build up the capability and capacity of their internal audit department in anticipation of the demand.

 

Yours Sincerely

Eric Lim

President

Message 16

Dear Members,

August 29th, 2012 was a significant day for IIA Singapore. A Memorandum of Understanding was inked between The Pro-Tem Singapore Accountancy Council ("SAC") and IIA Singapore ("IIAS") during the IIA Annual Conference and Leadership Forum at the Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre. Under this MoU, SAC and IIAS will jointly develop and roll out a new post-university certification programme designed for internal auditors.

The programme aims to provide a structured training pathway for aspiring internal auditors and advance the career of existing professionals for leadership roles in their organisations. A Working Committee has been formed to develop the Asian-flavoured programme and it is planned for launch in April 2013.

Another notable moment was our 2012 Annual Conference and Leadership Forum held last week. The event was a resounding success with a record high participation from our members this year. Thought leaders and members had a good exchange of ideas and sharing during this event and we received so much positive feedback from you. The Guest of Honour, esteemed speakers and panellists as well as our conference organising committee all played a crucial role in contributing to the event's success. We look forward to serving our members even better in our 2013 conference.

I am on my third week of my first term as President of IIA Singapore and I am looking forward to work with the Board and the IIAS management team to build on the good foundation which has already beenlaid down by the previous Boards.

Our key focus in the coming year is to deliver premier services to our members. For the coming FY, we will work on 3 key areas,

 

a) Our IIA Academy Education Programmes

b) Our Member Resources

c) Our Service Quality at the IIAS Secretariat

Of vital importance is your feedback to us. We look forward to your input on how we serve your needs as a member and as an internal auditor in bringing our profession forward this coming year.

Eric Lim

President, IIA Singapore

Message 15

Dear Members,

For the second year running, The Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore, Securities Investors Association (Singapore) and Singapore Management University have jointly collaborated to present this year's Internal Audit Excellence Award at the SIAS 13th Investor Choice Awards 2012 held last night.


The objective of this award is to promote greater awareness of the importance of an effective internal audit function in Listed Companies. This award recognises companies that have put in place an effective Internal Audit Function to enhance corporate governance, risk management and assurance.


IIA Singapore heartily congratulates the following winners:

Winner of the Internal Audit Excellence Award: DBS Bank Ltd

Runner-up: Singapore Airlines Ltd

Runner-up: Cerebos Pacific Ltd

Merit Award: Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd

Special Recognition Award: Mr. Lim Him Chuan, Managing Director and Head of Group Audit, DBS Bank Ltd

Another milestone initiative by IIA Singapore this month is the offering of student memberships at $20 per annum. Via this initiative we hope to create opportunities for university students to understand what the profession is all about through our resources, and interest them to pursue a career in internal auditing upon graduation. It is our long-term strategy to cultivate a pipeline of future internal auditors for our members and the profession. We hope you as members can be our ambassadors to spread the word of this initiative.

We hope to provide on-going quality services to members. If you haven’t noticed already, all corporate members have been issued individual passwords that grant access to the IIA Global website. The website is one of our member benefits and is rich in internal audit resources to help members carry out their work better.

One the regional front, last month, the IIA Singapore Secretariat office was paid a learning visit by a group of more than 20 auditors from Jiangsu Province, China. They had contacted us with interest in our membership and certifications, and they also asked about internal audit practices in Singapore. The President and one of our Governors, Hwee Tin, were here to host them.

On the global front, the IIA International Internal Audit Standards Board has released revisions to the Standards this month. The new Standards will be effective January 1, 2013. To keep our members up to date with the revisions, we have organised a complimentary evening talk on Oct 11th. Special thanks to our past president, Tan Peck Leng who will be presenting the revisions to our members.

And finally, on a lighter note, IIAS and ACFE are collaborating to hold a networking event for members in the form of a whiskey-tasting session on Oct 12th at Senso Ristorante. We will be organising more social events in the future and we hope to see you!

Eric Lim

President, IIA Singapore

Message 14

Dear Members

Time flies by us rapidly. Another month has passed and the festive season is around the corner.

To date there are almost 5,000 certified internal audit and risk management professionals from over 100 different countries who have taken advantage of the Professional Experience Recognition (“PER”) period for IIA Global’s latest certification: The Certification in Risk Management Assurance (“CRMA”).

By the end of the year, it is likely that the CRMA will be the second most widely-held internal audit related certification in the world – behind only the CIA. To date, Singapore has 13 CRMAs and numerous applications in the pipeline. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate these CRMA professionals and encourage those in the process of applying to hand in their applications by 1 December to the Secretariat.

Another key development this year was the revisions to the International Professional Practices Framework (“IPPF”) which will take effect in January 2013. Last month we saw over 200 members attend two complimentary evening talks on the IPPF revisions by our Past President Tan Peck Leng. Some of the key areas covered include Responsibilities for Conformance, Quality Assurance, and the CAE's role to communicate unacceptable risk. For those who missed the talks, the presentation slides are available for downloads.

IIAS has been faithfully organising roundtables for members throughout the years on key developments in the industry. This month, both IIAS and ACCA jointly organised a roundtable on Oct 18 to shed some perspective on the new governance code. Industry leaders from Ernst and Young, KPMG, Rajah & Tann, Tricor, SAICSA, CGIO and Chief Audit Executives from SMRT and UOB were at the roundtable to discuss, share and provide views on Risk Management under the New Corporate Governance Code –Expectations & Deliverables. The key takeaway points will be documented in a report for distribution in January 2013.

This month we were also paid a visit by internal auditors of the Central Coordinating Agency, Ministry of Finance, Bhutan. We conducted a 2-day training for them at the IIAS office to assist them in strengthening their internal audit function. Next month, we are planning a membership night for members and friends. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all of you to join us and exchange ideas with your peers. I would also encourage all the new members who have joined us this year to attend and meet your fellow members. It is only because of your faithful support that IIAS can continue to grow as a strong advocate for our profession as the years go by.

Yours faithfully

Eric Lim

President, IIA Singapore

Message 13

Dear Members

With the arrival of the New Year, it is an opportune moment for many to reflect on our own lives, count our blessings and make new resolutions. At the Institute, we too have reflected on our progress this year, taking stock of the goals we have set for ourselves and the accomplishments we have made towards these goals. As we continuously attract memberships and grow the number of certified internal audit professionals in Singapore, we are committed to provide members with quality service that will aid them in their work and career development. Our focus will be to develop the professional status and skills of the profession.


One of the key highlights for The Institute of Internal Auditors this year was the introduction of the Certification in Risk Management Assurance™ (CRMA®) by the IIA. At IIA Singapore, we have seen many of the internal audit professionals taking advantage of the Professional Experience Recognition period to submit their applications before the exam commences in mid-2013. IIA Global also recently announced the 5,000th professional being awarded the CRMA designation. The warm reception of this new certification by both the global and local professional internal audit community testifies the growing importance of risk management assurance under our IIA brand.


Year 2012 also saw an increase in outreach to students at local universities to raise awareness and share about career opportunities in the IA profession, as well as the benefits of student membership. In mid-November, the Immediate Past President of IIA Singapore spoke to more than 150 accounting and finance students at UniSIM with an interesting take on internal audit careers, entitled “Anonymity, Trust, Revenge and the Internal Auditor”.


The year has also been a year of increased event collaborations with our affiliates. Last month, we hosted a talk together with CPA Australia by Rajah and Tann lawyers Rajesh Sreenivasan and Lionel Tan on the new Data Protection Bill and Social Media Risks for Auditors. We also hosted a joint seminar with ACCA on “Practical and Legal Considerations to Investigate Allegations of Fraud from the Perspective of a Board, CEO, CFO and Head of Audit” which was conducted by CK Cho. IIA Singapore was also part of a team of supporting partners for the first International Accountants’ Day celebrated in Singapore on November 8th. Moving forward, we are also exploring collaborations with other affiliates to create exciting professional development sessions for our members in the coming year.

On behalf of the Board of Governors and Secretariat team, we wish to express our appreciation for your cooperation, support and contributions in our IIA activities. We wish each of you a very successful year ahead and may your professional and personal dreams come true in year 2013.

Yours Sincerely
Eric Lim
President, IIA Singapore

Message 12

As we begin this New Year, allow me to wish all members a very rewarding year ahead. I trust each IIA Singapore member had a good break and is recharged for the New Year.

At the start of each year, it is a time for us to plan our professional career development and training needs. I strongly urge members who have yet to become Certified Internal Auditors (CIA®) to become certified, as well as consider obtaining our other specialty certifications like CCSA®, CRMA®, CFSA® and CGAP® in order to advance  your career and enhance your ability to help your organization achieve its objectives.  Your continuing professional development is of utmost importance to us and it is in this regard that IIA Singapore set up the IIA Academy, providing a continuing stream of training courses to help bolster the skills of our members. Take the opportunity to learn and lead in your organizations.

I am also happy to announce that we are organizing a Public Sector Internal Audit Conference for the first time on 23-24 April 2013. IIA Singapore is welcoming international speakers to the stage and these renowned speakers will be sharing their experiences and success stories with us. We look forward to meeting you at this inaugural conference.

On January 1st, 2013, the newly revised International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) took effect. The Standards are mandatory guidance under the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF) and they are critical because they delineate basic principles that represent the practice of internal auditing.  I would like to members to take note that conformance with the Standards is required and essential for the professional practice of internal auditing.

On a lighter note, some of our members attended our Christmas networking event in December at the St. James Powerhouse Station where the winner of the IA Excellence Award shared his department's best practices at DBS Bank. Members also had the opportunity to meet a Singapore Paralympic who shared her inspiring life story. I was personally pleased to see so many new members among us who came especially for networking opportunities and I would strongly urge all members to attend our upcoming events this year to meet like-minded people in your profession.

Once again, let me wish you and your family good health, peace and happiness in the New Year.

Eric Lim
President
IIA Singapore