Global assessment of internal audit competence: Does one size fi t all?
The Certifi ed Internal Auditor (CIA) programme is the formal globally recognised test of competence for internal auditors. However, the question is raised whether this assessment of competence has kept up with the changing demands of modern internal auditing, taking into account the fact that demands may differ from one country or region to the next. The fact that Australia, the UK & Ireland and South Africa require qualifi cations in addition to those of the CIA programme may be attributed to a need for a different level of competence in comparison with the Rest of the World. The objective of the study was to determine whether differences exist between the respective competency level needs for internal auditors from South Africa, the UK and Ireland, Australia and the Rest of the World. Data from the Institute of Internal Auditors’ (IIA’s) latest global Common Body of Knowledge (CBOK) study was used to determine and statistically analyse the perceived levels of importance of general competencies, technical skills and behavioural skills needed by internal auditors. The results indicated that globally internal auditors have similar perceptions of what competencies are most important for internal auditors, but the levels of importance differ among the regions. South Africa demanded a higher level of competence and aligned closely with the UK and Ireland, which could explain why South Africa now needs a customised competency assessment. Australia consistently indicated different perceptions of the levels of importance of competencies, which could explain Australia’s need for a country-specifi c internal audit competency assessment. Hence one size may not fi t all.
Key words: certified internal auditor, competency assessment, internal auditing, internal audit competencies, cross-country comparison.