Blog: Did the “Watchdog” Bark Too Much in Glendale, Ariz.?
In his blog, IIA President and CEO Richard Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA, shares his personal reflections and insights on the internal audit profession. Here’s an excerpt from his latest post:
One of the highlights from each year’s International Internal Audit Awareness Month is the numerous public proclamations promoting the profession. They typically praise internal auditing’s role in enhancing public trust and promoting economy, effectiveness, and efficiency in government. In my mind, such proclamations acknowledge a fundamental truth: Internal audit boosts transparency and accountability in the public sector.
This is why I am particularly disappointed and frustrated when jurisdictions that have already recognized internal auditing’s value take a step backward. Such is the case for Glendale, Ariz., a city of about 250,000 people in the Phoenix metro area. City leaders there voted recently to eliminate its long-established internal auditor position and replace it with an outside contractor.
The action is being promoted as a way to strengthen accountability, but I fear it will have the opposite effect. What drives my concern most is that outsourcing internal audit in the way envisioned in Glendale can undermine the independent assurance that an internal audit function provides. A properly resourced and independent internal audit function can proactively prevent problems by evaluating controls on a regular basis. Because an internal audit function is more familiar with operations and processes, it can swiftly respond to requests and is well-suited to follow up on recommendations and how those recommendations are implemented.