Internal audit continues to grow as a value-add function, and practitioners with the intellectual chops as great critical thinkers have already nailed the biggest skill that chief audit executives (CAEs) covet when hiring, according to a new study by the Institute of Internal Auditors.
The second most-sought skill? Great communication. Together, analytical/critical thinking and communication “are personal skills that continue to be at the top of any CAE’s wish list,” the report states. “Practitioners with these skills have a higher probability of overcoming any technical deficiencies and stepping up to meet stakeholders’ value-added expectations.”
Of the skills that CAEs ranked in popularity, 64 percent ranked analytical/critical thinking first by a wide margin. Communication was second with 51 percent. (Respondents were asked to choose their top five priorities.)
“Analytical/critical thinking and communication are personal skills that bring together all the other components of an audit practitioner’s competency set,” the report states. “They give the internal auditor the ability to apply technical knowledge and then communicate what has been applied to stakeholders.”
What’s more, both skills improve with age and experience, according to the report. And they often are harder to teach than hire. That makes behavioral interviews more important than assessing technical skills “to ensure the long-term success of internal audit functions,” the report states.
About Terry Sheridan
Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.