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Rethinking reliance: identifying and removing cultural barriers

22 Sep 2021
14:20 - 15:10

Rethinking reliance: identifying and removing cultural barriers

Level: Intermediate

Rethinking reliance: identifying and removing cultural barriers while:
  • Being strategic in how we work to improve accountability
  • Being smart about how we work together, respecting different roles
  • Making sure that management and oversight bodies get the information they need

This session will explore how different assurance providers can coordinate their efforts to reduce the overall burden on reporting and resourcing, strengthen defenses, and add value to reduce risk for any organization.

Internal auditors, legislative auditors and other external auditors, do similar work. But their roles are different – who are they reporting to? Why? In what way do they interact with management? Sometimes, they all identify the same risks and design work in the same areas – thereby duplicating efforts or at least overlapping. How do they explain the differences in approach, findings, conclusions and how their reports are used? At other times, there is an assumption that someone else will look at a problem and it gets missed by everyone.

What factors define successful coordination amongst multiple assurance providers?

The presenter will share examples from over 40 years of providing assurance – with a proposal that at least part of the solution lies in communications, relationships, and removing cultural barriers.

She will describe how some new practices, including lessons learned from working in a COVID world, are breaking down the cultural barriers – barriers between people looking at the same subject matter from a different lens, barriers in terms of geographical location, and how assurance providers around the world are speaking out on difficult topics including corruption and gender equality.

The presentation will link this proposed solution to technical materials of relevance to reliance in the world of performance audits, including: guidance from standard setters, published guidance from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, regulatory requirements such as those set out in freedom of information legislation, and other studies including the “lines of defense” and current risk frameworks.

Examples will include:

How assurance providers can help each other at the planning stage
Leveraging legal access: Case study: The Office of the Fire Commissioner: how internal auditors identified problem areas that were handed off to the Office of the Auditor General
The challenge in communicating the differences to oversight bodies and management
Lessons learned – missed opportunities and audits which could have been designed differently.