Internal Auditor’s Perception about their Role in Risk Management Comparison between Belgian and US Companies
In addition to a number of quantitative studies in this area, this study wants firstly to elaborate in a complementary qualitative way how internal auditors perceive their current role in risk management within the Belgian context where internal auditing is a relatively young profession. Secondly, we want to investigate whether, under the influence of recent changes in corporate governance regulations, a greater financial emphasis in internal auditors’ work can be noticed. Thirdly, we are interested in differences between Belgian companies and Belgian subsidiaries of US companies with relation to internal auditors’ role in risk management. In order to get adequate data, we interviewed 10 Chief Audit Executives and collected relevant documents. The data reveal that the specific content of internal auditors’ role in risk management is very time and country specific. For the Belgian companies, internal auditors’ focus on acute shortcomings in the risk management system creates opportunities to demonstrate their value in the short run. Internal auditors are playing a pioneering role in the creation of a higher level of risk and control awareness and a more formalised, standardised, transparent and documented risk management system. In the Belgian subsidiaries of US companies, internal auditors’ objective evaluations and opinions are a valuable input for the new internal control review and disclosure requirements mentioned in the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Moreover, an enhanced attention for financial controls and the quality of financial reporting was noticed within these companies.
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