The Institute of Internal Auditors Celebrates Its 80th Anniversary

Lake Mary, Fla. (November 17, 2021) — The Institute of Internal Auditors announced its 80th anniversary as the internal audit profession’s most widely recognized advocate, educator, and provider of standards, guidance, and certifications.

Since 1941, The IIA has committed to “Progress through Sharing” and advocated for internal audit as essential for effective governance. Today, The IIA is truly a global force, 210,000+ members strong, representing 125 countries and territories.

Historians have traced the roots of internal auditing to centuries B.C., as merchants verified receipts for grain brought to market. The real growth of the profession occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the expansion of corporate business. Demand grew for systems of control in companies conducting operations in multiple locations and employing thousands of people. Many people associate the genesis of modern internal auditing with the establishment of The IIA.

The year 1941 marked a major turning point. Victor Z. Brink authored the first major book on internal auditing. And at the same time, John B. Thurston, internal auditor for the North American Company in New York, had been contemplating establishing an organization for internal auditors. He and Robert B. Milne had served together on an internal auditing subcommittee formed jointly by the Edison Electric Institute and the American Gas Association, and they agreed that further progress in bringing internal auditing to its proper level of recognition would be best made possible by forming an independent organization for internal auditors. When Brink’s book came to the attention of Thurston, the three men got together and found they had a mutual interest in furthering the role of internal auditing.

As an organizing committee, Brink, Milne, and Thurston contacted a small group of internal audit practitioners throughout the United States who expressed interest in forming a national — even international — organization for internal auditors. The IIA’s certificate of incorporation was filed on November 17, 1941, and just prior to the first annual meeting on December 9, 1941, at the Williams Club located at 24 East 39th Street in New York City, 24 charter members were accepted for membership. Thurston was elected as the first president of The IIA.

Membership grew quickly, from the original 24 members to 104 by the end of the first year, to 1,018 at the end of five years. By 1957, membership had expanded to 3,700 and 20 percent were located outside of the United States. Eighty years later, The IIA is a dynamic global organization with more than 210,000 members worldwide. How did the organization develop from 24 enthusiastic men in New York City to what it is today? It has required selfless volunteerism, dedicated professionals, and most of all, people with a desire to make internal auditing a proud and distinguished profession.

Media Contact

Chris Almonte for The IIA