The maturity of the internal audit function differs in various parts of the world, according to a new study.

The report, released Tuesday by the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation, found a variety of factors affecting the maturity levels of internal audit in different parts of the globe, including the age and size of the internal audit function, the type of industry, the size of the organization, and other variables.

The differences range from minor to major. For example, the use of technology varies across regions, with a low of 13 percent of internal audit functions in North America relying on manual systems and processes, to a high of 36 percent in the East Asia and Pacific region.

Another new report released Tuesday by the IIA at the IIA’s international conference in New York focuses on the role of internal audit in cyber security.

The report, Internal Audit as Trusted Cyber Adviser, describes the steps that internal audit leaders should take to become significant contributors to cybersecurity efforts at their companies. They need to go “beyond simply ensuring cybersecurity audits are executed according to plan” and adopt more of a strategic, forward-looking approach to the problem, said the report.

Internal audit leaders should build relationships with the chief information officer and chief information security officer at their companies to get a clearer understanding of the needs of the security and IT teams. Another must is getting buy-in from the top to support the efforts of internal audit. The report is available in eight languages, including English, Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Turkish and Arabic.

Also at the conference, the IIA honored two internal audit leaders. Denny Beran received the Bradford Cadmus Memorial Award, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions in research, education, publications, or other developments and activities in the field of internal auditing. He worked for JC Penney’s internal audit department for 40 years and remains an active volunteer with the IIA and with charities in the Dallas area.

The IIA also recognized Patricia Miller with the William G. Bishop III Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who, through a lifetime of accomplishments and dedication to the IIA, have made an impact on the practice of internal auditing, advanced awareness of the IIA, and inspired professionals around the world to make a difference in the profession and organization. Miller served as the 2008–09 IIA global chairman and has spent more than three decades in the profession, including work in the private sector with Deloitte & Touche and Pacific Telesis, in academia at the University of Nevada–Reno, and as an author. She currently chairs the IIA’s International Internal Audit Standards Board.

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