Actionable insights: As they bring awareness to opportunities, internal audit shines a fresh light on trends and ideas that senior managers may want to incorporate into their overall strategic plan or keep in mind as they work to fend off competition, increase market share and attract new customers.
Once strategic decisions have been made, there’s a tendency to take a narrow view of how the company should move forward. Resources may be limited to take a broader view. By becoming aware of a shifting trend in a customer demographic or a weak link in the business model, management can be shaken out of any tendency toward complacency. Attention will turn to whether it’s time for a product upgrade, investment in innovation, or a strategic pivot.
Organizationwide awareness of key risks: Many companies’ weakest link is the lack of communication between departments or geographic locations. Internal audit can help to fill in some information gaps by asking the right questions about challenges facing the various areas of the company.
For instance, if the recent spate of high-profile cybersecurity attacks have hit your industry in particular, are all your organizations aware and taking extra precautions? For a geographic expansion in the works, do those involved realize the differences in the new country’s way of conducting business? Internal audit brings such issues to the surface, so that they become part of the discussions involved in planning and strategizing the company’s next moves.