The Institute of Internal Auditors has proposed a set of enhancements to its International Professional Practices Framework, which encompasses all the authoritative standards and guidance for internal auditors promulgated by the IIA.

The IPPF is essentially the blueprint for how the body of knowledge and guidance fit together to support the professional practice of internal auditing.

A global task force commissioned by the IIA is recommending several major enhancements to the framework, including introduction of a mission statement and core principles, along with new guidance designed to focus on emerging issues. The proposed changes would not affect the content of existing key IPPF elements, such as the definition of internal auditing, the Code of Ethics or the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards). However, the IIA noted that the standards are constantly being evaluated and could be revised to support the proposed framework revisions.

The IPPF review, the first since 2007, led to a proposed mission statement and a previously unarticulated set of core principles for the profession. The new mission statement would state that—in each respective organization—internal audit strives “to enhance and protect organizational value by providing stakeholders with risk-based, objective and reliable assurance, advice and insight.”

The new set of 12 core principles highlights what effective internal auditing looks like in practice as it relates to the individual auditor, the internal audit function, and internal audit outcomes. The core principles applying to individuals, for example, would include demonstrating uncompromised integrity and displaying objectivity and commitment to competence.

“The IPPF serves the global internal audit profession very well, and these proposed modifications come after a comprehensive review by a global task force of skilled internal audit practitioners,” said IIA senior vice chairman Larry Harrington, who chairs the IPPF Re-look Task Force Steering Committee. “After months of careful consideration, we are proposing enhancements we believe make the IPPF more reflective of the profession’s core principles and mission, and more responsive to changes in the marketplace.”

In addition, a key enhancement to the framework would be creation of an emerging issues guidance category to assist practitioners in addressing more quickly emerging trends, changing stakeholder expectations, identified regulatory or legislative concerns, and/or new topical issues. Essential to the emerging issues guidance is the understanding that it would be developed and issued with minimal delay.

The task force also recommends restructuring guidance elements of “practice advisories” and “practice guides” to better reflect their intent, including renaming them as “implementation guidance” and “supplemental guidance,” respectively. The new structure would not eliminate the content of existing practice guides and practice advisories, but they would likely be revised, re-issued or replaced over time.

“It has been gratifying working with such a talented group of internal audit professionals as part of this effort,” said IPPF Re-look Task Force chairman Robert Hirth in a statement. “I truly believe the proposed enhancements, especially the new principles, will be of significant value to practitioners worldwide.”

The IIA said there is a 90-day exposure period for the proposal. Central to the 90-day exposure period is a survey available to the more than 180,000 IIA members worldwide, along with regulators and other key stakeholders of the internal audit profession. The exposure draft outlines the proposed changes and seeks evaluation and comments on each. The deadline for responses is Nov. 3.

If approved by the IIA Executive Committee and Global Board after the exposure, elements of the new framework could be available in the first quarter of 2015.  A more fully populated new framework could then be as available sometime in 2016.

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