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The IIA  







COVID-19 continues to pose significant health and economic challenges as it enters its second year. The impacts on organizations and their internal audit functions have been varied. The 2021 North American Pulse of Internal Audit: Many Sides of Crisis provides a unique benchmark into the diversity of COVID-19’s effects.

Key Takeaways:

  • Some functions added staff during the pandemic due to an increase in assurance responsibilities and a need to add skillsets to their teams.
  • Audit plan allocation continues to increase for financial reporting and decrease for operations.
  • Budget and staffing reductions were not as widespread as internal audit leaders initially expected. However…
    • Smaller functions suffered the deepest cuts as a percentage of staffing.
    • Internal audit functions experienced widespread staff cuts in some industries, including retail, food, travel, education, and health care.
    • Internal audit budgets were most likely to be cut in the areas of travel and professional development.
    • Internal audit functions with cuts in staff doubled from 9% to 18% year over year.

The clear message from this year’s Pulse data can be summed up in the aphorism: We are all in the same storm, but not the same boat. Explore how differently internal audit departments weathered the storm and why. This annual report serves as both a benchmark and a barometer.


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