The President/Chairman of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Ken Opara, Ph.D, FCIB has called on the Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria to embrace technological advancements in the discharge of their duties, adding that technology in internal audit is no longer controversial, it is the way to go.
The CIBN boss revealed this in Lagos, while speaking at the 2023 annual retreat and conference of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) held recently.
He also noted that the ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances is becoming increasingly important in the internal audit profession.
Mr. Opara stressed that Internal auditors must be able to respond quickly to changes in business operations, emerging risks, or changes in regulatory requirements. He said the ability to work in an agile manner, with a focus on continuous improvement, is becoming an essential skill for NextGen internal auditors.
In his words, “Technologies like artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and blockchain are rapidly transforming the business landscape,” adding that internal auditors need to be familiar with these technologies and understand how they can be used to improve audit efficiency and effectiveness.
He said they should be able to analyse large amounts of data, identify patterns and trends, and use data for robust reporting and decision making.
The next generation auditing practices are the last line of defense against fraud in banking and technology, adding that advancements are needed to protect organisations against such fraud.
He also stressed banks should adopt technological advancements in their audit processes which would make tasks such as analysing vast amounts of data, real-time monitoring, reduce human error and bias more efficient. By doing so, he said, banks can enhance their ability to detect and prevent fraud, ultimately protecting their customers and shareholders.
The President/Chairman of Council, however, warned that businesses in particular to be wary of increased cyber threats which has significantly increased since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
“For example, according to Businesswire, 81 per cent of global organizations experienced increased cyber threats during COVID-19 and 79 per cent of organizations experienced downtime due to cybersecurity risk during peak season.
“The ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances is becoming increasingly important in the internal audit profession. Internal auditors must be able to respond quickly to changes in business operations, emerging risks, or changes in regulatory requirements. The ability to work in an agile manner, with a focus on continuous improvement, is becoming an essential skill for NextGen internal auditors.”
He finally proposed that adopting an innovative mindset, embracing emerging technologies, and collaborating with other functions, internal auditors must deliberately and personally identify initiatives that will make them remain relevant and add value to their organisations as well as the practice of audit.