Mr. Barnabas Vera, IIA Zimbabwe President
From 19 to 21 September 2018, the Institute of Internal Auditors Zimbabwe held a very successful Annual Conference at the Elephant Hills Hotel in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
What was the purpose and theme of the conference?
The Annual Conference was run under the theme “Yes, we can - Excellence in a promising environment”. The conference was organised to bring together professionals drawn from internal audit, risk management and compliance, accounting and financial management, board representatives and representatives from government and was attended by over 250 participants.
The conference lived up to the motto of the Institute ‘Progress Through Sharing’ as speaker after speaker churned out practical solutions on how Zimbabweans in general and the profession in particular can provide excellence in shaping the economy of our country and the future of generations to come.
What contributions will the profession make in the economy of the country?
The conference discussed the challenges & opportunities arising from the mantra, “Zimbabwe is open for business”. Members noted that if we do things right and professionally, internally auditors will guide the country through an industrial revolution by actively driving the industrialisation agenda that prioritises local entrepreneurs and existing businesses. ‘Open for business’ should not simply translate into an offer of preferential conditions for new businesses which are superior to those in existence for similar products.
What role does the profession play in combating fraud/corruption & Cyber Threats?
The business world is facing increasing levels of fraud and cyber-attacks attributable to growth in globalization, growth in competitive markets, rapid developments in technology and periods of economic difficulty.
It is the responsibility of all levels of the organization to fight fraud, from the Board of Directors, the audit committee, legal advisors, management, internal auditors, all levels of staff.
An effective anti-fraud strategy should have four main components that include prevention, detection, deterrence, and response. Internal audit is widely known as the third line of defence in protecting organisations against fraud and their role has proven to be effective worldwide.
How will the Institute contribute to Vision 2030 goals?
Contributions to Vision 2030 goals will be multi-pronged and will be addressed through maintenance of good governance, strengthening corporate risk culture, assuring audit committee effectiveness and job creation.
Good governance. Good corporate governance is essential in achieving excellence. Good governance is based on the following foundational traits: leadership, integrity, accountability, judgment and is accomplished through:
- Compliance with laws, regulations, codes
- Accountability to shareholders
- Response to legitimate interests of stakeholders
- Regular evaluation of business objectives and criteria.
Strengthening Risk Culture. Internal audit professionals will be the change catalysts to foster changes in the risk culture of organisations through initiating conversations around risk management, securing buy-in from senior and operational management, educating and working with senior management and the Board to initiate and sustain the change and supporting and advising colleagues. This can only happen if professionals understand and respect others’ perspectives, accurately, perceive their emotions, and skilfully convey one’s own emotions, communicate effectively the reason why a specific solution is the best response, and how the change will be implemented.
Effectiveness of Audit Committees. The Audit Committee is an important communication link between external audit, internal audit, senior management and the board of directors. The audit committee appoints both the Chief Audit Executive and the External Auditors, review their plans, work, and their working relationships and performance. The committee should have a sound understanding of the role of the internal audit activity, provide resources and training and ensure an appropriate reporting structure for the internal audit function that enables the function to adequately deliver on its mandate. The IIA will work with stakeholders to ensure that audit committees maintain their effectiveness.
An effective audit committee should:
- be comprised of members who are both independent and financially literate with at least one member designated as a “financial expert”;
- have open lines of communication with management, internal auditors, and external auditors;
- understand the systems of internal controls pertaining to the organization so that it makes recommendations for improvement;
- at its meetings discuss significant accounting, internal control, and compliance issues as identified by auditors, both internal and external;
- discuss the review of the financial statements, annual reports, and accounting issues;
- discuss the review of the auditors’ management letter, internal controls, and compliance reviews;
- be able to investigate on its own, material internal control weaknesses that need urgent attention; and
- be prepared to take unpopular actions to safeguard the integrity of its control system and that of the organisation.
Critical Thinking & Professional Skepticism. Professionals and business people need to understand their businesses and control environment, the IT systems, risks and opportunities as they present. Critical thinking is a disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualising, analysing, applying, synthesising & evaluating information gathered from or generated by observation, experience, reflections, reasoning or communication as guidance to decision making & other actions. This is essential in the creation of jobs as professionals think outside the formal boxes and become their own masters, creating their own practices, empowering themselves and creating jobs for themselves and other Zimbabweans.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE OF INTERNAL AUDITORS (IIA Zimbabwe)
IIA Zimbabwe was formed in 1988 as an affiliate chapter to the Global Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) which was established in 1941 in the USA.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is the internal audit profession's global voice, recognized authority, acknowledged leader, chief advocate and principal educator worldwide. The IIA serves members from all around the world in internal auditing, governance, internal control, IT auditing, education, and security.
IIA is the world’s leader in certification, education, research, and technological guidance for the profession, The Institute sets the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and provides various levels of accompanying guidance; certifies professionals through the globally recognized Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®) and specialty certifications in government, control self-assessment, and financial services; presents leading-edge conferences, seminars for professional development; produces forward-looking educational products; offers quality assurance reviews, benchmarking, and consulting services; and creates growth and networking opportunities for specialty groups.
IIA Zimbabwe commits to the ongoing development of internal auditors, and providing a range of training courses and seminars, networking opportunities, publications, and other services in Zimbabwe.
CONTACT US: (firstname.lastname@example.org; +263 774 163 667; +263 8677 111 207; Cnr Adyllin/Marlborough Drive Marlborough).