Internal Audit Foundation and Deloitte Release Global Research Study Assessing Internal Audit Competency

Internal Audit Foundation and Deloitte Release Global Research Study Assessing Internal Audit Competency

Findings Show High Foundational Competence, As Well As Opportunities for Improvement in Innovative and Emerging Risk Areas, Resource Allocation and Talent Development

LAKE MARY, Fla. (November 18, 2021) – The Institute of Internal Auditors’ (IIA) Internal Audit Foundation (IAF), in collaboration with Deloitte, released the results of a new study that confirmed internal auditors have strong competence in core knowledge areas, but also have notable opportunities in innovative and emerging risk areas, as well as a critical need for additional resources. The results indicate that, going forward, internal audit functions and organizations may need to rethink their resource allocation and talent development to address risks and maximize opportunities to advise companies on significant transformation.

The 2021 Premier Global Research Report, Assessing Internal Audit Competency: Minding the Gaps to Maximize Insights, shares the findings from the survey, which was designed to complement The IIA’s Internal Audit Competency Framework©. The survey yielded 1,181 responses across 90 countries, and helped identify areas where internal auditors are highly developed, as well as opportunities for growth.

Overall, internal auditors surveyed report having highly-developed competencies in core knowledge areas relevant to their roles. However, respondents also say there is a critical need for additional focus on the use of innovative technologies in internal audit.

“Many internal audit functions are continuing to modernize how they achieve their objectives as well as what they audit. As digital transformation accelerates, both within internal audit functions and more broadly in the enterprise, it’s important that those professionals keep pace,” said Mike Schor, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “This unique point in time offers internal auditors an opportunity to articulate the value they could add to their organizations if adequately enabled by relevant transformative technology and upskilling opportunities.”

The report also identified opportunities for growth in emerging areas such as Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), agile auditing, and security and privacy.

Responding internal auditors across all regions reported critical resource gaps in five competency areas, including: risk management, internal control, due professional care, organizational independence and soft skills. Additionally, the report found regional opportunities to improve competency in areas such as data analytics, IT control frameworks and fraud.

“Considering the critical role that the independent internal audit function plays in today’s rapidly evolving business world, and the speed at which technology and risks are evolving, internal auditors must have adequate resources to keep up with, and stay ahead of, these changes,” said Charlie Wright, Chairman of The IIA’s Global Board.

Chief Audit Executives (CAEs) are in a unique position to provide their internal auditors unprecedented growth and development, assisting in closing the gaps in their organization. In the report, Wright says, “It is essential that the internal audit function assess staff competencies and identify opportunities to fill skills gaps as a continuous process. In this way, the internal audit function is well-positioned to add value in today’s technologically advanced world.”

This report discusses key actions for closing those gaps, such as:

  • Internal auditors should become more familiar with the updated IIA Internal Audit Competency Framework to identify competency gaps within their role and within the function as a whole.
  • Internal auditors should decide which gaps to close immediately for stakeholder needs. Further, CAEs and their internal audit functions need to ascertain how frequently and against which criteria the gaps should be reassessed in the future.
  • CAEs should consider options for reallocating resources — such as training, mentorship programs, or engaging subject matter experts — to access the latest thinking on how to perform core internal audit activities.

Download the full report here: Assessing Internal Audit Competency: Minding the Gaps to Maximize Insights

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About the Internal Audit Foundation

The Internal Audit Foundation strives to be an essential global resource for advancing the internal audit profession. The Foundation’s research and educational products provide insight on emerging topics to internal audit practitioners and their stakeholders and promote and advance the value of the internal audit profession globally. Through the Academic Fund, the Foundation supports the future of the profession by providing grants to students and educators who participate in The IIA’s Internal Auditing Education Partnership Program. For more information, visit

About Deloitte

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of our legal structure. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

About The Institute of Internal Auditors

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is the internal audit profession’s most widely recognized advocate, educator, and provider of standards, guidance, and certifications. Established in 1941, The IIA today serves more than 200,000 members from more than 170 countries and territories. For more information, visit