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Pulse of Internal Audit Survey Report UAE

by Madaline Dunn

The recently released Pulse of Internal Audit Survey Report UAE—2024 from Protiviti Member Firm for the Middle East Region and the UAE Internal Auditors Association (UAE IAA) explores how Internal Audit (IA) functions across the UAE are navigating a rapidly evolving business landscape marked by technological disruptions, sustainability imperatives, and heightened risk complexities.

According to the survey, 92 per cent of respondents recognise the value addition of Internal Audit through assurance, consulting activities, and promoting a robust governance culture within their organisations. 

The survey results also emphasize the urgent need for IA functions to bolster digital transformation and automation efforts. 

Although 76 per cent of respondents indicated Audit Committee backing for proactive innovation within IA, 47 per cent identified themselves as digital sceptics or beginners, which the report said underscores a notable deficit in digital maturity.

Another key insight from the survey is the gap between the growing emphasis on technology risks and the absence of specialised IT audit skills within organisations. 

Thirty-eight per cent of respondents indicated that 25-50 per cent of their audit plan addresses technology risks, but 52 per cent of organisations lack personnel equipped with essential IT and cybersecurity expertise within their Internal Audit function. 

On the sustainability front, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting is gaining traction, it was shared. 

However, while 44 per cent of IA functions play a significant role in assuring ESG reporting and associated risks, 65 per cent of respondents face challenges due to expertise gaps and a lack of relevant data. 

The report said this highlighted the necessity for organisations to invest in nurturing ESG competencies within their Internal Audit teams and establishing effective data collection mechanisms.

Further, while most organisations (71 per cent) have formal processes in place to identify and prioritise top risks, 82 per cent acknowledged the presence of unanticipated risks that require continuous management attention throughout the year. 

The full “Pulse of Internal Audit Survey Report UAE – 2024” can be found here.

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