Organizations can greatly improve their internal auditing processes by employing digital technology tools and services, which in turn will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their overall operations, said Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr Takehiko Nakao during the iaTech 2018 conference being held at ADB headquarters on 22–23 November.
The theme of the two-day conference is "Embracing Digital Technology in Internal Audit." Discussions are focused on the role of technology in the internal audit process of organizations—including data analytics and robotic process automation of monitoring, among others. Over 200 public sector, internal auditors from 29 countries are attending the event.
The iaTech 2018 event is the first conference of the AuditWithoutWalls! community, which ADB launched in April 2017. All participants of this conference are members of the community. The aim of the community is to promote learning and sharing among public sector internal auditors; identify and apply digital technologies in the internal audit process; and provide a networking platform for internal auditors around the world.
Mr Nakao gave the conference's opening remarks. "It is critical that the internal audit function keeps pace with the change in digital technology and leverages these new technologies to better evaluate and improve an organization's processes and systems," he said.
Speakers at the event include Mr Naohiro Mouri, Global Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Internal Auditors; Mr Elie Chamoun, Safeguards Assessment Division at the International Monetary Fund; Mr. Henri Arendsen, Information Technology Audit Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme; Mr. Do Keun Cho, Principal Audit Specialist at ADB; Ms. Ebru Sumer Cakmak, Internal Auditor at Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Turkey; and Mr. Isaac Reyes, Data Scientist at DataSeer.
Through its Digital Agenda 2030 roadmap, ADB is actively harnessing the use of digital technology in its loan and grant operations in such areas as health, education, finance, and infrastructure in its developing member countries. ADB is also investing in new technologies for more efficient and effective management of ADB internal functions and processes. This includes better IT mobility, enhanced cloud platforms, and improved technology infrastructure. ADB's Office of the Auditor General is using data analytics software to automate test procedures and assist other departments in implementing a continuous monitoring approach.
The conference highlights the need for auditors to upgrade their own skills. "There is a deficit of audit professionals with expertise in digital technology. Organizations who want to leverage and benefit from emerging technologies must support the skills development of their internal auditors," said Mr Nakao.
ADB, for example, supported the skills development of internal auditors through the training program Internal Audit Capability Model, which is conducted for five government ministries in Cambodia and the Department of Finance in the Philippines. The training will enable internal auditors to apply appropriate internal auditing principles to improve their auditing processes and practices.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totalled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.