The versatile auditor: diverse backgrounds can provide different perspectives, help bridge the skills gap, and strengthen the audit team.

Author:Sanglier, Thomas C., II

Now is a great time to be an internal auditor. Stakeholders recognize the value internal auditors bring, audit projects are more challenging, and there is increasing demand for internal audit's work. In fact, the number of job openings for internal auditors posted on The IIA's Audit Career Center has more than doubled from a year ago, while the number of resumes posted by job seekers is down 42 percent. Richard Chambers, president and CEO of The Institute, says that companies are facing the most severe internal auditor shortage in more than a decade, calling it "a classic supply-and-demand dilemma."

The IIA's 2015 Pulse of Internal Audit survey, along with perspectives from CAE interviews, note that one reason for the growing talent shortage in the profession is that internal audit functions continue to seek talent with skills and competencies in the traditional areas of accounting and finance, despite shifting expectations from audit committees to address critical risks outside of these areas.

How can the internal audit profession and, specifically, department leaders meet the growing demand for internal auditors cost effectively while maintaining or even increasing quality? One answer is to broaden talent pool strategies to include nontraditional internal auditors; specifically, those with training and experience in other disciplines such as engineering, human resources (HR), legal, and supply chain.

Raytheon Internal Audit is proud to have an Emerging Leader recognized by Internal Auditor magazine each of the past three years. One of this year's honorees, Marbelio Villatoro, an integrated project manager, is one of many Raytheon nontraditional internal audit team members. In other words, he did not study for, or begin, his successful career as either an external or internal auditor. Neither did three Emerging Leader honorable mentions--Lara Olisky, Maureen O'Connor, and Meghan Kennedy--one of whom was an engineer by training and work experience before joining the internal audit department.


In addition to increasing the number of potential candidates, seeking out nontraditional internal auditors can bring significant benefits to any department. Organizations with more diverse workforces perform better financially, according to a 2015 research study by McKinsey and Co. Researchers stated that "[m]ore diverse companies ... are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision-making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns." Typically, diversity is thought to mean different genders, race, or age. However, diversity also applies to different...

To continue reading