Seven attributes of an effective internal auditor

Published Date: 
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The UNC Charlotte Internal Audit Department defines its success by helping other University employees and campus units do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

Internal audit is ever-changing, and so are the proficiencies that it takes for an internal auditor to be successful. Technical skills are important and necessary, but soft skills are important, too. The seven attributes of a highly effective internal auditor are:

  1. Integrity: Internal auditors must always be honest and fair and exhibit trust, independence and objectivity in all work that they do. They must be tough and have the ability to push through difficult situations and then work with people in a constructive manner. And they must be flexible. This is critical in a fast-paced environment where internal auditors must be able to switch priorities/projects in response to rapidly changing business conditions.
  2. Relationship-building: In order to cultivate trust and respect, internal auditors need to develop healthy relationships within all levels of the University. These relationships help reduce stress and resistance during the audit process. They also encourage the University community to see internal audit in an advisory/partnership role.
  3. Partnering: To partner with the University community, internal auditors must stay informed on what is going on within the University. This understanding is brought into each audit to enhance risk coverage and therefore add value.
  4. Communication: Internal audit strives to issue audit reports that convey factual information while inspiring credibility and trust. The department is aware that effective communication extends beyond writing, and internal auditors always try to be good verbal communicators as well as listeners.
  5. Teamwork: Internal auditors must work well together. The nature of audit is collaboration with each other as each individual has different strengths and skill sets. As part of a team, internal auditors must have the skillset to influence, lead and empathize.
  6. Diversity: Due to an ever-changing environment, internal auditors must influence and work with a larger variety of ethnicities, nationalities, ages, cultures and subcultures within the University. Internal auditors must see challenges through many different perspectives, experiences and skills as possible and learn how to be sensitive and flexible to communicate and interact with each person.
  7. Continuous Learning: Internal auditors should understand the University but remain inquisitive as the environment changes. They should have a natural passion for discovery and education throughout their career. Internal auditors constantly must refine and update their business knowledge through formal training, development programs, self-guided learning and reading.

May is Internal Audit Awareness Month, and each week during this observance the Internal Audit Department is providing a short article to assist the campus to become better informed about internal audit.