• Over 300 experts discuss the future of internal audit profession amid numerous challenges
  • IIA chief suggests Global Operating Model and guidelines for global affiliates

Dubai: The 10th Chief Audit Executive (CAE) Conference kicked off in Dubai at Atlantis The Palm Hotel Dubai on Wednesday, November 17, with a call for a new global strategy to raise internal auditing standards, international governance standards and upscale the entire profession by creating a plan for the next 3-5 years and beyond.

Organised by the UAE Internal Auditors Association (UAE IAA) the conference held live and face-to-face after a gap of two years was attended by more than 300 Chief Audit Executives and Senior Audit Executives from across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region with the theme ‘Beyond All Barriers’ to give an insight on what the internal audit profession could look like in 20-30 years.

Inaugurating the conference, H.E. Engineer Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Chairman of Emirati Human Resources Consul of Dubai and Former Minister of the Economy of the UAE, said internal audit is assuming greater importance in projecting the UAE as a centre of excellence, good governance, social responsibility and transparency.

He also called for attracting Emirati youth to the internal audit profession.

“The UAE has firmly established itself as a global hub for commerce, and it is critical for the country to be a role model in the field of internal auditing by fostering good governance and best international practices. Internal auditors are the custodians of corporate consciousness. We bank on people like you to enhance the UAE’s reputation as a centre of global best practices and good governance, as envisioned by our leadership,” he said.

Al Mansoori also hoped that the Conference will add value to the UAE’s reputation as a centre of global best practices and good governance as envisioned by the UAE leadership.

“I am glad that we are organizing this important conference in Dubai as a mark of Dubai’s resilience power that helped the economy almost recover from the impact of the devastating pandemic,” said UAE IAA Chairman Abdulqader Obaid Ali.

He said the UAE chapter of IIA, UAE Internal Auditors Association, is aiming to be among the top five associations in the world. The Association is the first  to issue qualification certificate in Blockchain technology in line with the government initiative to be in the forefront of  embracing technology. “If we don’t embrace technology, we are doomed and will become irrelevant.”

Delivering the opening keynote address, Anthony Pugliese, President and CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA Global), the global body of internal auditors based in the US, suggested a global strategic plan to upscale the entire profession in line with  a Global Operatinig Model and guidelines for IIA’s global affiliates to implement the strategic plan to tackle issues such as cyber security, data governance and security, sustainability, environmental risks, disruptive innovation and technology.

HE Al Mansoori also listed the various challenges facing the profession.

“The pandemic has thrown its own set of challenges and auditors are facing new and unique obstacles while performing audits. Remote working made it impossible to conduct on-site audits while training and development of new recruits suffered in the absence of peer support. In response, auditors need to be more agile and creative in performing audits and complying with the auditing standards,” he said.

UAE IAA, a non-profit organization, was set up in 1995 along the lines of its parent body, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA Global) which has 200,000 members from more than 190 countries and organizations. The UAE accounts for about 45% of the total number of internal auditors working in the region, estimated at about 7,000 auditors, of which 22% are Emiratis.

Mr Anthony, who is visiting Dubai for the first time as the chief of IIA Global, met with the regional CAEs and discussed the challenges faced by internal audit community, future of the industry, ways to improve the practice in view of the technology disruption, the role of internal audit in improved corporate governance and compliance by the government and private sector companies.

Major topics discussed include Rising Role of Audit in ESG Reporting, Impact of Digitalization on the Future of Internal Audit, Implications for Unlearning and Re-skilling the Professionals to Stay Relevant, Disruption in Internal Audit function because of Intelligent Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, How to make Digital Transformation a true success, Digital Transformation in the Banking Sector, and Audit 2050: The Future Internal Auditor: What will become of the Internal Audit Profession.


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