The Institute of Internal Auditors and KPMG in Qatar hosted a seminar on ‘Effectively managing the audit committee agenda and expectations’ and ‘Soft Controls’ recently. More than 120 participants representing various organisations and industries in Qatar attended the seminar.
The seminar was opened by Jeyapriya Partiban, partner, risk consulting at KPMG in Qatar. It included presentations from Arjun Neelakantan, director of KPMG in Qatar, Risk Consulting (Internal Audit, Risk and Compliance services), and Arindam Ghosh, associate director of KPMG in Qatar, Risk Consulting (Forensic Services).
Partiban said, “In today’s changing business landscape, risks are multiplying and hence identifying and treating them in a timely manner is a big challenge. Audit Committees are increasingly using internal audit reports for directing management to improve risk management culture and enhance business performance through good governance practices.”
Neelakantan said, “In addition to the need of identifying and managing risk, is the need to be equally able to identify new business opportunities, and where necessary, to take calculated business risks. Often the risk of taking no risk is riskier than the risk itself, while talking about risk intelligence. The need is, open, candid and frequent communication with Audit Committee.”
Audit committees are becoming more risk-savvy and demanding improved risk intelligence and reporting”, he reiterated. The expert emphasised that internal auditors should re-think about their roles, consider the IIA’s professional standard, be completely independent– without any fear and facilitate the audit committee’s growing and evolving needs.
In his closing remarks, Neelakantan, said, “Effective corporate governance is the cornerstone of shareholder protection and Audit Committees have a key role to play in shaping and guiding good practices”. Ghosh started his presentation on soft controls raising a question; “In this new world organizations are changing strategies and strategic objectives.
Is the internal audit still auditing with a year old audit program where the risks change every day?” He defined soft control, as the intangible behaviourinfluencing factors in an organisation that are important for achieving its objectives.
Business risks including integrity and fraud risks prevention require a combination of hard controls and soft controls. The soft controls include ethics, values, competency, commitment and most importantly behaviour of employees influenced by factors such as leadership, openness, awareness and trust.
“The seminar was vital to expanding the knowledge of today’s internal auditors. The practitioners’ point of view on the topics was well deliberated and the presentations were very beneficial to the seminar attendees,” said Rajeswar Sundaresan, IIA board member, who coordinated the event. Girish Jain, IIA vice-president welcomed the gathering.
source: Qatar Tribune
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