NACD Audit Committee Chair Advisory Council: Emerging Technologies and the Future of Internal Audit

In brief: Emerging technologies—such as cognitive technology/artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation, and predictive analytics—are transforming business models and opening up new ways for companies to connect up and down their value chains. Internal support functions are taking advantage of many of these technologies. In fact, there has been significant movement in internal audit recently, as adoption of technologies such as AI, robotics, and data analytics are on the rise. On February 27, 2019, NACD, KPMG, and Sidley Austin LLP convened a meeting of the NACD Audit Committee Chair Advisory Council—a group of audit committee chairs from Fortune 500 companies. The discussion focused on board oversight of emerging technologies and the impact that the adoption of those technologies is having on the finance and internal audit functions of their companies. The following insights emerged from the discussion:

  • Emerging technologies are supporting internal audit’s journey toward becoming a more value-added partner to management and the board.
  • Audit committee members should be aware of roadblocks that can get in the way of the audit function taking full advantage of the benefits of new technologies.
  • Leading audit committees are providing oversight of the implementation of emerging technologies within the internal audit function by asking important questions about strategy, risks, and talent.

This resource can help your board to

  • probe internal audit’s use of new technologies in risk management and control processes;
  • identify ways to improve the structure, composition, and efficiency of the internal audit team; and
  • assess the expertise and talent necessary to execute the internal audit team’s broader strategy.

Most relevant audiences: audit committee members, risk committee members, chief financial officers, heads of internal audit