What You Need to Be the Ideal 21st Century Internal Auditor

What are the qualities that are essential for internal auditors who want to gain a professional edge in a constantly shifting business environment? Robert Half and The Institute of Internal Auditors released a white paper outlining just those attributes. 

If you're an internal auditor or looking to hire one, perhaps you are already familiar with the 7 Attributes of Highly Effective Internal Auditors. The report was authored by Robert Half Senior Executive Director Paul McDonald and The IIA's President and CEO Richard Chambers. 


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If you want to become an internal auditor or are considering shifting careers, see if you already possess these seven prized attributes. Here's what's most important and why you should integrate them into your skill set or team.

1. Integrity

It's a must-have quality at all levels of the function. Internal auditors need to exhibit integrity as well as trust, independence and objectivity in all their work. Resiliency represents another facet of integrity. 

2. Relationship building

Cultivating trust and respect with other professionals throughout the business helps to build productive, highly collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships. 

3. Partnering

Effective partnering hinges on service orientation, or the ability to go out and execute via partnership with the business and operational leaders. It also requires the ability to spot and share best practices. 

4. Communication

Effective communication extends beyond well-written reports and into verbal communication. Internal auditors need to maintain an ongoing and two-way (i.e., talking and listening) dialogue, both formally and informally, with the rest of the enterprise. 

See what we've written about the importance of communication skills in the workplace.

5. Teamwork

Intense collaboration can be required among auditors with different areas of technical expertise. Key attributes include the ability to influence, lead and empathize, supported by sharp business acumen.

Think about it: Would you want to hire someone who couldn't function on a team

6. Diversity

Changing demographics and the accelerating pace of globalization require internal audit functions to influence and consult with a variety of ethnicities, nationalities, ages, cultures and subcultures.

7. Continuous learning

Are you naturally inquisitive? Do you refuse to accept a surface explanation? Intensely curious internal audit talent involves people who remain curious within environments that can change on a weekly or daily basis. 

Take a look at one writer's view of Why Continuing Education Isn't a One-Time Thing

Three reasons to integrate the seven attributes 

  • You will improve and simplify your hiring and retention processes.
  • You will build a world-class team.
  • You will strengthen your reputation.

Learn more about internal auditors — their duties and expectations, skills and experience, and salary expectations?