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Artificial intelligence should be a key concern for the future of internal auditors

Technology is advancing rapidly and internal auditors should be concerned about how artificial intelligence (AI) could affect their roles, but not completely as long as the profession adapts to the disruption that AI will create, according to Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) CEO Richard Chambers.

“We must understand how it will impact the kind of work we do. I believe we are more susceptible to replacement by AI in providing hindsight and insight than we are in providing foresight,” he shared in a blog on the institute's website.

Chambers stated that companies also draw misguided conclusions over the objectivity of oversight from internal auditors, and consider it an expensive luxury.

According to Information Technology Industry Council’s (ITI’s) recently published Artificial Intelligence (AI) Policy Principles, companies of all sizes have developed AI systems, and it recommended that principles must be integrated into the design of AI technologies. Therefore, internal auditors must also be attuned with how AI is integrated and implemented by the organisations they serve.

The current danger is that stakeholders believe that all assurance is provided through enterprise risk management and corporate compliance, and that the rapid pace of change is pressuring them to seek short-term answers to complex problems.

Chambers added that another danger is the fallacy that fewer regulations mean fewer risks, regarding the growing move towards legislative repeal. “Practitioners must convince stakeholders that, while regulations may go, the risks remain and internal audit is essential to managing those risks,” he said. “The pressure to identify and mitigate risks quickly, efficiently, and effectively is a high as ever, and this will invariably put internal audit in the crosshairs whenever failures occur.”

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