Internal auditors are being stretched thin with demands for not only increased financial reporting compliance, but also work related to fraud detection, contracts, transactions and business performance improvement, according to a new survey.

Ernst & Young surveyed 138 internal audit executives in 24 countries and found that expectations are increasing, with greater focus on enterprise-wide risk assessment and business and operational risk.

Nearly three-quarters of the respondents indicated involvement in contract auditing, and 57 percent said they were involved in the auditing of major programs at their companies. Fifty percent of the companies surveyed have formal enterprise risk management functions.

Companies are having trouble finding enough talent to meet the increased demand. Forty-nine percent of the respondents have seen an increase in the size of the internal audit function in the previous 12 months. However, 38 percent of the respondents indicated they were operating at less than 90 percent of the budgeted head count. More than one-third of the companies said they didn't have staff trained in fraud prevention and detection.

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