18 November 2018


Integrity and professionalism vital for auditors

by: Kelepile Mokaila   date: 22 july 2018

The auditing profession finds itself in a difficult space as a result of recent scandals involving auditing firms widely reported in the media. So says Dirk Strydom, Deputy Head of Technical at the Institute of Internal Audit of South Africa (IIASA).

Strydom was addressing internal auditors at the annual North West Institute of Internal Audit networking session during its Annual General Meeting. 

He told auditors from municipalities and government departments that they have a huge responsibility towards their profession, which is under attack. Strydom urged them to stand for what they believe was right and not be intimidated by leaders or managers who may try to influence audit findings in their favour. He instead encouraged them to professionally question their seniors’ behaviour if they try to mislead them in any way.

Strydom reminded internal auditors that the objective of their profession was to enhance and protect organisational values.

His presentation, entitled “Dancing with wolves” made auditors aware that they would be dealing with leaders and managers whose intention might appear genuine but in actual fact not. 

He said many leaders hid their true colours and victimise auditors. This requires that auditors be wary when dealing with such personalities and not take their eyes off the ball. He said ‘wolves’ have run amok and auditors had allowed that to happen. 

“As internal auditors, we need to regain our professional scepticism and conduct our work with a level of integrity when auditing. The integrity of the profession has come under scrutiny and we have to be competent professionals,” advised Strydom.

In his presentation of “Ethics: An internal Audit Perspective”, the North West Provincial Internal Audit Chief Executive, Andre Nel, said auditors and people in general needed to put ethics on the right podium. He said ethics were most often talked about and not institutionalized. 

Nel advised members to research more on ethics in order to understand how they could make a difference ethically when rolling out their audit plans.

“Unethical behaviour is one of the root causes of poor audits, hence auditors find themselves where they are today,” said Nel. 
Razvan Hartopanou presented a report on the financial performance of the IIASA’s North West chapter, which looked at both revenue and expenditure and touched on current membership.