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?