More than 40 percent of internal auditors within the financial services sector felt that better risk management practices could have helped prevent their organization’s current financial situation, according to a just-released study from the Institute of Internal Auditors.

The study, the results of which were revealed at the IIA’s General Audit Management Conference here, polled more than 1,000 internal auditors in the United States. Of the 364 who responded, 117 work in the financial services sector, and 34 work for Fortune 100 companies.

 “These survey responses are from some of those executives who were right there in the middle of what was happening — those who were closest to the situation,” said IIA president Richard Chambers. “This gives us a peek at why things might have happened the way they did, how things are now being done differently, and areas for more in-depth analysis.”

 Of the 73 respondents whose organizations received stimulus or rescue money from the government, 44 percent have not addressed providing internal audit coverage for risks related to receiving the funds.
Overall, more respondents agreed than disagreed that internal auditing could have helped identify key risks to mitigate some of the current economic impacts their organization is facing (39 percent and 35 percent, respectively). Respondents from the financial services industry felt strongest that internal auditing could have helped identify risks to mitigate the impacts of the financial crisis (55 percent agreed and 21 percent disagreed).

Earlier this week, the IIA held a roundtable discussion with regulators and chief audit executives from several Fortune 100 companies to discuss the survey results, as well as the responsibilities and opportunities for the internal audit profession during the current economic climate. The feedback gathered during the roundtable will be used by the IIA to develop guidance and training.

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