In the quest to aid speedy economic recovery and impactful service delivery to stakeholders caused by macro-economic headwinds and Covid-19, banking sector’s players have been charged to maximise the opportunities by re-strategising its roles that will address emerging risks.
The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, made the call during the 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) with the theme “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” held virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank at the weekend.
Sekibo who was represented by his Executive Director, Jude Monye, while addressing internal auditors of banks, inquired from the bankers on the readiness of the Internal Audit function to lend the necessary support in exploiting and maximising the opportunities without impairing their independence.
He, however, noted that with the rapid changing developments forced by the pandemic sweeping across the globe that have upended organisations in every sector of the economy, banking inclusive; internal auditors would notice that their modus operandi are outdated.
To this end, he stated that this was the most auspicious time for Chief Audit Executives to rethink how they perform various aspects of their audit assignments.
Sekibo suggested that auditors should “become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balance, objective audit reports to executive management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”
He explained: “Embracing new processes and tools to modernise and maximise the audit function helps not only with the perception of internal audit’s value, but also the reality of its contributions. Opportunities to evaluate include virtual auditing, electronic workflow management, and distance team-building and development.”
According to him, it becomes imperative for audit teams to embrace change, harness it and use this season to strategise on what internal audit can be in the future, whist noting that only Chief Audit Executives that maximise the opportunity to refresh and reposition will make their role more relevant and impactful for stakeholders.