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#auditiscool An interview with the Aspire team

27/05/2019 by Andy Winterburgh

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As you probably know at Hybridge we are passionate about challenging preconceptions about the internal audit industry and spreading the word far and wide about the exciting, challenging and rewarding opportunities a career in Internal Audit can offer. As part of this, we met up with the team behind Aspire, an initiative from the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, who share our vision to find out more.

Hi Rosie and welcome. 

Can you tell us a little bit about how Aspire came about?

Providing a platform to support internal auditors early in their careers is a key part of the Institute's strategy. On joining the Council I saw this as an opportunity where I could add value and was something that I was passionate about supporting. I quickly found that there was a huge desire to have a community that joined up internal auditors across the profession. The energy and talent that shone through just from the focus groups we held were fantastic and we couldn’t wait to harness the enthusiasm for the profession to launch the community.  

What’s its purpose/trying to achieve?

It was set up to support internal audit professionals in shaping their careers. It does this by providing them with opportunities to network with their peers in other organisations, share experiences, developing their skill set, and to hear from industry experts on a range of key topics. We have had several events now and the feedback has been fantastic. People enjoy meeting up and we are really seeing the benefits of enabling networking at this level.

Who is it aimed at?

We are targeting Internal auditors in the first 5 years of their career, regardless of sector and Chartered IIA membership. This means that there is a great cross-section of industries as well as experience. 

The exposure to alternative experiences, perspectives and journeys are essential to developing a successful profession, as well as in developing as professionals ourselves. The wider we develop our networks and the wider range of stories we hear the greater our appreciation of our own unconscious biases and the more value-adding our work becomes. 

Aspire opens the door to all internal audit professionals to share their experiences either formally through sessions on specific topics or informally through networking. Community members hear a range of perspectives and journeys from our speakers that open up the diversity of the profession. Unlike any other professional community, this is without regard to industry, level, location or specialism. We hope that our members take their experiences with them and help further embrace inclusion in their workplace.

What do you think the future of Internal Audit looks like and how does Aspire fit into that future?

As organisations are facing an increasing quantum, complexity and speed of risks emerging Boards will increasingly recognise the value of internal audit in supporting the delivery of their strategy. The need for a robust, high quality, internal audit profession that is based upon a fundamental understanding of risk management, governance and internal control will be ever more essential. The ‘softer’ skills of internal audit will continue to be central to establishing internal audit as a trusted advisor, with new technology as an enabler to success. 

Aspire aims to prepare the next generation of internal auditors for the future of the profession by broadening their networks and giving them the opportunity to learn from senior and experienced peers, exploring key topics. The events also aim to strengthen their knowledge on internal audit matters such as agile audit, data analytics and disruptive technologies. By creating their own network within the internal audit community, they can establish strong relationships which they can benefit from later in their career.

What events have been held so far and what were the highlights?

From the first focus groups to establish the role and purpose of Aspire to the latest event on innovation in data analytics I have been really energised by all of our interactions with the community. 

We have already held many events across the United Kingdom which have covered topics relevant for practitioners in the industry such as The Future of Internal Audit where we heard from experienced HIAs and from young prize-winning internal auditors, Disruptive technologies and Agile Audit to career-focused events like How To Build A Career In Internal Audit where experienced HIAs from a range of sectors shared their careers tips & tricks.

I found the building a career in internal audit event to be quite eye-opening. I was so impressed by the investment and thought that internal auditors are taking to carefully consider their careers. The insight that our speakers shared about their own careers was invaluable and we could have continued for at least another hour! It was a real testament to the range of routes to internal audit and experiences that we have across organisations as well as the impact of different styles of leaders we meet.

Why do you think #auditiscool?

Internal audit is a career like no other and there are so many reasons, here are our top 4;

1. As internal auditors, we have access to the heart of organisations spanning the breadth and depth of what they do. We are privileged to support an organisations leadership and Board in understanding and addressing critical threats and opportunities that influence the fulfilment of their purpose. What we do has a direct impact.
 

2. No one day in internal audit is the same. Our work covers the widest range of topics and risks imaginable and yet we can still add value in each and every piece of work we carry out. 

3. We negotiate relationships at all levels in an organisation with an arsenal of techniques that means we can ensure our work is meaningful to all our stakeholders, from the administrator on the ground to the Board Chair. 

4. Internal auditors are not your average person we are hugely skilled in negotiation, we are strategic thinkers and incredibly adaptive. Aspire has introduced me to an even wider network of internal auditors and I continue to be impressed by how reflective, confident and highly skilled our colleagues are across the profession.

Whilst it can sometimes feel that the rest of the world has an entirely different, and inaccurate, view of what an internal auditor is like this should not define us.  We know what it takes, we see the real value and impact that we deliver and we know, without a doubt, that #auditiscool. 

Thank-you and what's next?

Hybridge would like to thank Aspire for their input into this interview. Do keep an eye out for their upcoming events:

June 2019 – What’s The Point of Internal Audit? Full day event organized by IIA Midlands.
More info here 

Also, if you would like to help us spread the word that #auditiscool please like, comment and share our interviews and do follow our LinkedIn page for more news and interviews about developing your career in Internal Audit. 

If you have a burning question that you would like us to answer in our blogs or perhaps an Internal Audit Leader that you think we haven't yet interviewed who you would like to hear from then do drop us a line here.