The purpose of this paper is to describe and compare in a qualitative way how internal auditors perceive their current role in risk management within US and Belgian companies.
In order to get adequate data, Chief audit executives from 10 different companies were interviewed and relevant documents were analyzed.
In the Belgian cases, internal auditors' focus on acute shortcomings in the risk management system creates opportunities to demonstrate their value. Internal auditors are playing a pioneering role in the creation of a higher level of risk and control awareness and a more formalized risk management system. In the US cases, internal auditors' objective evaluations and opinions are a valuable input for the new internal control review and disclosure requirements mentioned in the Sarbanes Oxley Act.
Given the qualitative nature of this study, generalization to all Belgian and US companies is not possible. The time specific character of the subject is an opportunity for future longitudinal research.
In Belgium, the internal auditing profession is actually in a kind of “transition phase”. In order to survive this transition phase, internal auditors need to assume a “teaching role” vis‐à‐vis the different management levels to make them aware of their responsibilities in risk management. After this transition period, internal auditors will be able to focus more on their core activities.
In addition to a number of quantitative studies, this paper extends in a qualitative and comparative way the understanding of the specific role of internal auditors in risk management within US and Belgian companies.
Sarens, G. and De Beelde, I. (2006), "Internal auditors' perception about their role in risk management: A comparison between US and Belgian companies", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 63-80. https://doi.org/10.1108/02686900610634766Download as .RIS
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