Perceptions on the role of the internal audit function in respect of risk...


Philna Coetzee* and Houdini Fourie

This research investigated the perceptions of chief executive officers, chief financial officers or chief operating officers, as well as chairpersons of the audit committees of the top listed companies in South Africa on the role of the internal audit function in respect of risk. These perceptions were compared with the views of chief audit executives. Data was obtained by means of personal interviews with the senior management and the chairpersons of the audit committees and by means of electronic questionnaires issued to the chief audit executives. Some interesting conclusions made are that communication regarding risk issues is lacking. Although the internal audit function’s role is perceived as positive, the views of senior management and those of the chairpersons of the audit committees differ substantially. It is further concluded that these two parties expect an increase in internal auditing’s involvement in risk-related issues. Senior management and audit committees can benefit by evaluating their organisations’ risk maturities as compared to the top listed companies’ risk management frameworks. Internal auditors can use the data to suggest improvements where needed as stipulated in the Standards of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

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