Internal auditors urged to demand strict 'accountability' practices by Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
October 30, 2003

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THE Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Guyana Chapter is currently encouraging internal auditors across the country to join the association in an effort to strengthen the local Chapter and to allow practitioners of the profession to collectively and effectively deal with the various issues affecting the profession.

The call was made yesterday by President of the IIA, Mr. John Seeram, during a workshop (presentation) the institute organized at the Cheddi Jagan Research Institute in Kingston, Georgetown.

The IIA-Guyana was established in 2000 and now has 16 members. More than 300 persons work in internal audit and related areas throughout the country. The President of the IIA-Guyana expected that these non-IIA members would take the initiative to become members of the institute and attend regular seminars put on by the institute.

Head of the Internal Audit Department of Banks DIH Limited and President of the Guyana Manufacturers Association (GMA), Mr. Ramesh Dookhoo, feels the internal auditing profession "needs to be better sold".

"We need to awaken the national consciousness with regards to the value of the profession," Dookhoo asserted.

He said this could only be done by the practitioners of the profession coming together and collectively dealing with the issues that affect the profession from a policy point of view. He noted that the IIA Global Office provides unlimited support for such an effort.

"Is your CEO (Chief Executive Officer) aware of the new definition of internal auditing or does he see you as a pain in the butt who is always reporting the inefficiencies of his managers whom he has nurtured and does not want to see fail?" Dookho posited.

He said internal auditors would be doing less than their best if they failed to demand strict 'accountability' practices by the companies or organizations they're attached to.

INTERNAL AUDIT WORKSHOP: In photo from left are President of the IIA-Guyana, Mr. John Seeram; President of the Institute of Internal Auditors of Toronto, Canada Mr. Lal Balkaran and Mr. Quincy Bourne, member of the local IIA Secretariat.
Yesterday's main presentation - entitled 'Internal Audit Best Practices' - was done by President of the Institute of Internal Auditors of Toronto, Canada, Mr. Lal Balkaran, CIA, CGA, FCIS, FCMA, MBA.

Fewer than 25 persons attended the workshop presentation, which was well documented and ably presented by Balkaran, who indicated that, "Internal auditing has increasingly come under the spotlight since the corporate meltdown in the United States."

According to him, internal auditing reviews the reliability and integrity of information, compliance with policies and regulations, the safeguarding of assets, the economical and efficient use of resources, and established operational goals and objectives.

He said the function also encompasses financial activities and operations, including information systems, production, engineering, sales, marketing and human resources. "Indeed a look at today's internal audit reveals a process that brings more value to the organization than ever before," he asserted.

For instance, internal auditors now perform an important role in steering committees and strategic planning groups throughout the organization and assist in raising awareness of risks before they become problems, Balkaran told participants at the workshop.

"In essence, today's internal auditors and the services they provide are critical to the very survival of the organization where they work. But having an internal audit function is not sufficient," he posited.

According to Balkaran, an effective internal audit reflects a good understanding of an organization's operations. Internal auditors must find time to study, understand and assess the nature, environment, and operations of the business where they work. He noted that such issues as corporate culture, governance and management styles, must be carefully reviewed to put audit issues in context.