Looking back on 2015, an overlooked, but important development for internal audit professionals was the revision of the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF), an evolving collection of guidance by The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA) that has provided professional direction to internal auditors worldwide since 1947.
Although the announcement back in July didn’t garner the headlines of, say, Sarbanes-Oxley, or even the 2013 update of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Internal Control – Integrated Framework, it really was important news. Here’s why:
- The IIA, with more than 180,000 members around the world, is the internal audit profession’s global voice, chief advocate and principal educator.
- The IPPF is the organization’s collection of both current thought and time-tested wisdom – a blueprint for how the body of knowledge and guidance fit together to support the professional practice of internal auditing.
- Changes in today’s business world and the risks associated with them are accelerating like never before. This makes it imperative for those on the front lines to have the most progressive practical guidance to help their organizations successfully navigate these risks.
Granted, the changes to the IPPF weren’t radical – The IIA added a mission statement and articulated 10 core principles for the professional practice of internal auditing. The changes do not affect the content of other key mandatory IPPF elements, such as the definition of internal auditing, the code of ethics, or the international standards for the professional practice of internal auditing (Standards).
The new core principles highlight what effective internal auditing looks like in practice as it relates to the individual auditor, the internal audit function, and internal audit outcomes. These include, among other things, demonstrating integrity, objectivity, competence and due professional care. The principles also highlight the need for internal audit to be proactive, insightful and future-focused.
Other IPPF enhancements include:
- Transitioning “Practice Advisories” to a more comprehensive suite of “Implementation Guidance,” and
- Grouping “Practice Guides” and “Global Technology Audit Guides” (GTAGs) as “Supplemental Guidance.”
These are small but important changes toward making the IPPF stronger – exactly the kind of leadership we’d expect from The IIA. I recommend taking a few minutes to look them over if you haven’t yet, and I look forward to another strong internal audit year.