The traditional role of chief audit executives (CAEs) as watchdogs is expanding to include them as business partners or consultants. Their hard-edged technological, risk management, and compliance skills now must blend with softer people skills.
“While education, experience, and certification are important, they alone are not sufficient to propel someone to the CAE ranks. Personal skills and attributes are also evaluated by organizations seeking to appoint a CAE,” the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Foundation said in a new report, CAE Career Paths: Characteristics and Competencies of Today’s Internal Audit Leaders.
The report – based on a survey of 14,518 professionals in 166 countries – sheds some light on the key skills CAEs should have as they take on new responsibilities.
“The CAE must plan, organize, staff, direct, and control the internal audit function. Some CAEs are called on to expand their oversight beyond internal audit and assume primary or shared responsibility for the organization’s risk management and compliance activities,” the report states, citing findings from three earlier studies. “In addition to performing the required tasks, the CAE is expected to model desired behaviors – to project the tone at the top that shapes a value-adding culture. Internal audit’s success depends on the direction provided by its CAE and the organization’s management team. Therefore, finding a CAE with the requisite characteristics is critical for all organizations.”
First, a quick snapshot of who CAEs are these days: