Richard Chambers on the Technology Accelerating Internal Audit

Richard Chambers on the Technology Accelerating Internal Audit

In this special edition of AuditTalk, Scott Arnold, president and CEO of AuditBoard, sat down with Richard Chambers, former president and CEO of The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA) and newly announced Senior Internal Audit Advisor at AuditBoard, to reflect on internal audit’s potential for transformation, why AuditBoard is the right fit for him at this point in his career, and his views on technology’s role to accelerate change in the profession.

Richard Chambers, former CEO of The IIA, shares why he chose to partner with AuditBoard to continue his life’s work to elevate the internal audit profession.

As you reflect on your decade plus with the IIA, what are some of the things that most stood out to you during your time there?

The IIA will be celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and it’s a huge milestone for the organization, but I really don’t think we’ve had any period in The IIA’s history that’s been more dynamic than the past decade. We expanded membership. We expanded certification — in fact more than doubled the number of people who hold a CIA around the world. And I think that’s really a reflection of the stature of the profession itself, how vibrant internal audit is and how critical it’s become to organizations as part of their systems of risk management and control.

Tell us about your thought process as you considered the next chapter in your career.

For me it was really about continuing to help the internal audit profession. As you pointed out in the introduction I’ve been in this profession now for more than four decades. And for the last 20 years, I’ve been trying to give back to the profession through service, through organizations that are committed to elevating internal audit, and committing to making investments in the internal audit profession and to helping the internal auditors themselves be successful in serving their organizations. So as I made the decision to step down from The IIA and afford someone else an opportunity to come in and lead the organization, I wanted once again to find an organization that I felt I could align with and help continue to elevate the profession as we have over the last 20 years. For me, there was a very, very short list and AuditBoard was always right at the top.

With all the options that you had, why did you ultimately choose to affiliate with AuditBoard?

For me, it was the commitment that AuditBoard has made to the profession in its relatively short history compared to a lot of other big companies out there. AuditBoard has distinguished itself in my view as one of the partners in our profession who really understands that if the internal audit profession succeeds then we all succeed. I’ve watched AuditBoard from the seat of the president and CEO of The IIA. I’ve watched AuditBoard as a practitioner. I said this is a company that really does have a commitment to inspire and elevate our profession. And so it was really that basis as much as anything. I think the moment that sealed it for me was when AuditBoard stepped forward last year in the depths of the pandemic and offered to provide scholarship funding for internal auditors to get training and education who might otherwise have been out of work and unable to get that training. That for me was an almost unprecedented act that I hadn’t seen any other company ever undertake.

We’re at a moment in the industry when there’s still lots of change ahead of us. What makes you excited about how your role might help technology accelerate change in the profession?

In my new book Agents of Change: Internal Auditors in an Era of Disruption, I try to drive home the point that for the internal audit profession to continue to advance, we have to be willing to demonstrate resilience and agility almost unparalleled compared to any point in the past. I think a lot of what is going to determine the success of the profession and the individual auditors is our ability to transform, our ability to stay abreast of the risks that our organization are facing, to equip ourselves with game changing talent, and of course, to be as innovative as we can possibly be in bringing service to our organizations. There’s no better foundation for innovation and technology. That’s why I’m excited about the opportunity to work with AuditBoard because its platform is just so robust and offers internal auditors and other GRC professionals and organizations a huge opportunity to navigate the treacherous waters ahead.