The role of internal audit in safeguarding organisational integrity

Deb Peach IIANZ

Deb Peach

Senior Manager Internal Audit for Kiwibank

IIA NZ Board member

In an organisational setting, integrity can be defined as a “concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions”.

Creating and maintaining a culture of high ethics and integrity is one of the most critical components of organisational success. This is a corporate culture where all employees are comfortable to speak up when they witness potential misconduct. It is important staff see corrective action in response to such incidences.

All organisations are susceptible to external and internal integrity risks, such as fraud and corruption. In the absence of mechanisms to identify, analyse and respond to risks, it may lead to negative consequences, such as economic losses, security breaches and reputational damage. In turn, these impacts may mean that customers may stop buying, potential recruits may think twice about joining, and shareholders undoubtedly get nervous.

While Internal audit has long been recognised as playing a key role in ensuring good governance, it now has an opportunity to champion integrity as a means of competitive advantage. There are several practical steps that internal audit can take, to ensure a consistent culture of integrity within an organisation:

steps that internal audit can take, to ensure a consistent culture of integrity within an organisation

In short, culture must last beyond individual leadership changes, and instead, be part of how an organisation conducts its business on a daily basis. The discussion above shows that Internal Audit must do their part to create a corporate culture based on integrity.


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