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Internal auditing in the Americas

Priscilla A. Burnaby (Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA)
Susan Hass (Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




Increased globalization and cross border trade suggest the importance of consistency in internal controls and the internal auditing activities within organizations when doing business with a region's neighbors. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether there are differences in the demographics of internal auditors in the neighboring regions of the USA, Canada, and many Latin American countries, their organizations' compliance with the Institute of Internal Auditors' (IIA) International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards), and the skills and competencies that are most important to perform the profession of internal auditing.


Data were selected from the IIA's 2006 Common Body of Knowledge database created by the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation. χ2‐tests or F‐tests were used to determine if there were differences in the responses between internal auditors from the US, Canadian and Latin American respondents.


Although there is less compliance and greater satisfaction with the Standards in participating Latin American countries, the findings indicate remarkable consistency in the USA, Canada, and Latin American countries in their application and compliance with the Standards and the kinds of skills and competencies respondents indicate are important for the practice of internal auditing. Global competition, increased communication and global stakeholder expectations have resulted in increased utilization of internal auditing in the Americas.

Practical implications

Reliability of organizational systems, output and performance must be continually evaluated to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and compliance with entity policies and procedures. One role of the internal auditor is to evaluate this performance using globally accepted Standards, frameworks and procedures. Adding value by making suggestions for system improvements and to provide assurance on the adequacy of system controls to stakeholders at all levels and geographical locations should insure the future of the internal auditing profession.


There has been nothing written about the comparison of the internal auditing profession's usage of the IIA Standards in the USA, Canada, and Latin America. As many organizations are doing business across these borders, reliance on the information provided by their suppliers and customers is important to executives. Systems that are monitored by internal auditors who follow the IIA's Standards should provide more assurance about the reliability of that information. This paper compares the usage of the IIA's Standards by internal auditors in the USA, Canada, and participating Latin American countries.



Burnaby, P.A. and Hass, S. (2011), "Internal auditing in the Americas", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 734-756.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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