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New Zealand Auditors Discuss How to Stay Ahead of the Game

Nearly 170 delegates attended the IIA‒New Zealand in November.Staying “Ahead of the Game” was the theme at last month’s IIA‒New Zealand conference in which issues such as emerging risks and how boards are demanding greater accountability from internal auditors were addressed. Nearly 170 delegates took advantage of the insights on maintaining relevancy in an ever-changing business environment.

During his opening address Brian Roche, CEO of the New Zealand Post, took the audience through the history of the postal service organization to underscore the importance of adapting to future trends for the benefit of their stakeholders. He was followed by New Zealand Data Futures Forum (NZDFF) chair John Whitehead and manager Evelyn Wareham who discussed the massive 700% increase in the amount of data flow over the past five years increasing the opportunity for the country to benefit from better public service, more transparent government, business engagements, and a better place to live and work. 

Anu Nayar, head of cyber, privacy, and resilience at Deloitte, provided insight into the pros and cons of “the cloud” including business development and cybersecurity. A highlight of the conference was an engaging panel comprising of heads of internal audit discussing subjects including internal audit reporting, interaction with audit committee chairs, and keeping the internal audit function at the forefront of organizations.

On the subject of stakeholder demands of accountability, speaker Lyn Provost, controller and auditor general of New Zealand, indicated that the country has a long way to go in establishing auditing committees, revealing that only 53% of the 521 public entities surveyed by her office had one. 

Chief Internal Auditor for the Ministry of Education James Jong shared a case study on the internal audit processes for the country’s third largest government department, reminding conference delegates of the importance of striking a balance, stating “You can’t cover everything, but be aware of being too comfortable. Look closely but take time to stand back and have a holistic view of everything.”

Closing the conference Rod Drury, founder and CEO of Xero, detailed how his company looks toward the future with innovative practices such as encouraging employees to test their boundaries, freely discussing product creation, and the importance of providing constructive criticism. Touching on Nayar’s discussion of “the cloud,” Drury discussed internal audit’s role in this new medium indicating the need to grasp the concept to stay ahead of the game.  

To view conference photos, visit our Flickr and Facebook pages.