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.
President, IIA Singapore
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.
President, IIA Singapore
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.
Chinese New Year is always a time to spring clean our homes, as we usher in a fresh year and a new slate. Debts are settled and old arguments are forgiven as we look to a new start of health and prosperity.
These are exciting times. The Government has just released the Population White Paper: A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore. As internal auditors, we are challenged to think strategically about the opportunities (or threats) that await us in the coming years with this eventual growth. Businesses will need to be more innovative and efficient and internal auditors would need to evolve together with their organizations. It is imperative that we think forward and reposition ourselves in order to stay relevant in this century. Martin Luther King Jr put it aptly when he said, "Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change."
As an internal auditor, you are expected to portray independence, integrity and professionalism in your work; while displaying in-depth knowledge of your client’s business and its strategic objectives. As leaders, you have a duty to identify key skills and competencies that your team needs to stay competitive. This February, IIA Singapore is doing our part by bringing in Dr. Dan Kneer, voted “Americas #1 trainer of auditors” to deliver a series of seminars from February 26-28 on statistical sampling, IT risk and MS Access for internal auditors in Singapore. With an Audit Practice Career of over 30 years, Dr. Dan believes in "AUDITING SMARTER, NOT HARDER". Dr. Dan has also been rated the #1 speaker at four IIA International Conferences, most recently in Atlanta, 2010.
In 2013, IIA Singapore has been moving steadily ahead on student membership talks at universities and last month we were at Singapore Management University delivering an evening talk on internal audit career prospects. As part of student membership benefits, IIA Singapore strives to link internship opportunities among our member organizations with these students on a regular basis, in the hope that exposure to the profession will spark an interest in them to further their careers as internal auditors.
Last but not least, while we are still in the midst of the Lunar New Year, which is always associated with P.A.P. (Prosperity, Abundance and, Peace), I take this opportunity to wish you all better prospects in P.A.P. (Pay and Promotion) in the new year as well!
As internal audit professionals, accountability for our Continuing Professional Development rests with us. Standard 1230 of The IIA's International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing call for internal auditors to enhance their knowledge, skills, and other competencies through continuing professional development.
Notwithstanding the Standards, our passion for our profession should motivate us to pursue the competencies needed to add value to ourorganisations. Expectations from the Board, management and other stakeholders are ever increasing; while uncertainties and risks in the evolving business environment regularly demand our attention. To stay relevant, internal auditors should religiously carve out time for training, with Chief Audit Executives playing a key role in supporting and facilitating training opportunities for their staff.
IIA Singapore has developed a learning and growth roadmap that outlines the development programmes available for staff as they progress through the organisation, addressing both hard and soft skills. The roadmap in IIA Academy can be used as a guide for personal and staff development. Along with your development pathway, 2013 will see IIA Singapore providing two highlights for the year featuring thought leaders around the region:
· Our inaugural Public Sector Internal Audit Conference (23-24 April) where international and local speakers will share best practices on public sector governance and lessons on how to drive excellence in public sector internal audit practices.
· Our signature Annual Conference themed “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges” which will ignite and inspire us to work and communicate better within our teams, organisations and stakeholders.
These two key events promise to be both engaging and interactive and I urge everyone who puts their professional development first to attend.
Effective communication has been a perennial challenge for internal auditors.
A recent paper by IIA and Robert Half in 2013 on “Succeeding as a 21st Century Internal Auditor” listed Communications as being one of the seven prized attributes of highly effective internal auditors.
Technical skills are of vital importance but need to be complemented with effective communication skills to render internal auditors valuable.
Larry Harrington, CAE of Raytheon, quoted aptly in this paper, that “Soft skills are the new hard skills”. The internal auditor of the future must be able to build highly collaborative relationships with all levels of business, communicate effectively and inspire trust to raise the bar of internal auditors.
To provide our internal auditors with new mindset and progressive thinking, the theme for this year’s IIA Singapore Annual Conference is: “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges”. This theme captures a key essence of our profession's evolving needs and we are crafting a conference programme that will prepare our internal auditors for the road ahead.
We are honoured to welcome our first illustrious keynote speaker Professor Mervyn King to the conference. Professor King is Chairman of the King Committee on Corporate Governance, the committee that issued a ground-breaking code of corporate governance in South Africa. Since our first announcement, I am pleased to observe that many in the profession express keen interest to participate. This is a strong demonstration of your commitment as internal auditors to stay relevant and meaningful to the stakeholders we serve.
On a separate note, I take this opportunity to congratulate our collaborator, the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC), on their official launch on 1 April 2013. The formation of the SAC is a significant milestone in the development of the accountancy sector in Singapore. The development of specialisation pathways in internal audit was highlighted in one of the key recommendations in the CDAS final report and we will continue to work closely with the SAC to bring heightened visibility to our internal auditing profession.
President, IIA Singapore
The month of May is Internal Audit Awareness Month. It is a special opportunity to honour the profession by building awareness and elevating its visibility in the business community on Internal Audit’s role in organisational governance, internal control, and effective risk management. Throughout this month, IIA Singapore is collaborating with its key partner, the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) to highlight contributions of five Internal Audit professionals through featured interviews. Look out for these special interviews on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages, featured each Friday until the end of this month.
As an internal audit professional, you can play the role of an ambassador in promoting awareness of the value you contribute to the organisation. As part of an audit team, or even as a sole practitioner, you too can help to spread internal audit's value-adding role and its special position in the organization. The IIA has launched a Building Awareness Toolkit which internal auditors like yourself can refer to for ideas on how to promote and elevate the awareness of the role of Internal Audit here in Singapore.
As part of our Institute’s objective to enhance the professional status of internal auditing in the region, we organised our very first Public Sector Internal Audit Conference last April. During the event, Minister of State Josephine Teo called on public sector agencies in Singapore to make better use of internal audit to strengthen their governance and decision-making processes, where “As internal auditors, you have the duty of helping your organisations stay vigilant. You must ensure that internal controls evolve in tandem, remain robust and yet at the same time, avoid becoming unnecessarily onerous.”
I would also like to add that it is essential for the internal audit activity to remain effective in providing assurance on the process in preventing and detecting fraud relating to resources, as IPPF’s Implementation Standard 2120.A2 states: The internal audit activity must evaluate the potential for the occurrence of fraud and how the organisation manages fraud risk. Additionally, the standards call for internal auditors to exercise due professional care by considering the probability of significant errors, fraud, or non-compliance (Implementation Standard 1220.A1). For us to stay relevant, it is vital that we demonstrate the value we bring to the organisation through our knowledge of fraud risk.
On a separate note, the Institute has recently arrived at two major milestones: we have, for the first time, reached SGD1 million in revenue this financial year, and as such, IIAS has become a GST-Registered entity. Secondly, we completed an office move to 6 Shenton Way, Tower One, #41-04 where our Secretariat team is now based to serve you better. We hope to see many of you visiting our Institute regularly.
Our advocacy efforts to raise the visibility of the internal audit profession is ongoing. In June, IIAS and the Singapore Institute of Directors will be holding a joint event for its members and the public on Using Control Self-Assessment in creating a Self-Accountable Organisation Culture. The speaker, Don Espersen, will also have a session on what the Audit Committee should expect from its Chief Audit Executive. It is part of our goal to educate the Audit Committee on the benefits of Control Self-Assessment as well as the CAE's role and I look forward to meeting you and your AC members at the session on 5 June.
Many of our long-standing members may recollect that we turn 37 this year. It has been a privilege for me to serve all of you in the past year and nurture the growth of the Institute in membership, staff strength and the number of activities we run. As the Institute commences a new financial year, the Board and Secretariat team will continue our hard work to actively serve the needs of the profession.
Over the next 60 days, we will be showcasing several activities with our collaborators. This month, we have organised an evening networking event at the Mint Museum of Toys on 31 July which will feature a talk by The Prodigy Group. We look forward to see many of you there. We are also actively involved in working with one of our partners, Singapore Management University, to launch their very first Internal Audit elective next month.
Exactly 2 months from today, our signature annual conference and leadership forum will take place. Our Guest of Honour is David Gerald, President and CEO of Securities Investors Association (Singapore); and we have an international line-up of speakers from South Africa, Canada, Belgium, USA and Singapore to share their professional expertise on 4-6 September at Marina Bay Sands. I observe that the theme “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges” strikes a chord within many of us in the profession. As internal auditors, we are always looking for ways to enhance our internal and external relationships with stakeholders, and this conference will explore several themes on this subject.
As always, I heartily appreciate the support of members in contributing their time and efforts to participate in our Institute training and advocacy activities. Your engagement and commitment is a critical success factor in elevating the stature of the internal audit profession. I hope to see many of you come together at the Institute’s Annual General Meeting next month on 22 August where we will share our results and success stories with you and gather your feedback for the way forward.
In recent years, the internal auditing activity has undergone transformation to keep abreast with changes in business landscape. Whether the impetus to transform is driven by internal or external forces, the reality is that internal auditors have to be productive to do more with less resources, and to continuously enhance their competency to be a source of value to management to deserve that 'seat at the table'.
In the next 30 days, IIA Singapore will be hosting two major annual events: Our IIA Annual General Meeting and our signature yearly conference. Many members have come to regard both as significant events of the year. Both are major milestones where the former will provide a report on our achievements and a platform to elect a new board to serve our members; while the latter provides a continuous platform for professional development and sharing by speakers/practitioners in the region. I look forward to see a paradigm shift in our thinking following your coming participation in the conference themed "Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges" that has been specially arranged for the profession's future good.
Finally, our Prime Minister in his National Day Message said, "Our road ahead will be different from the road we have traveled So we must reassess our position, review our direction, and refresh our strategies to thrive in this new world." Likewise, the internal audit profession needs to also reassess and refresh itself in order to 'stay ahead of the curve'.
Happy National Day