Managing Director of KPP Search, Paul Edwards, predicts that in 2024, the Internal Audit landscape is poised for a 5-10% growth, with a notable surge expected in IT auditors and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) specialists.
As organisations increasingly prioritise digital transformation and ESG considerations, there’s a heightened demand for professionals adept at assessing technological risks and ensuring ethical and sustainable practices. The expansion reflects a strategic response to evolving industry landscapes, emphasising the crucial role these specialists play in safeguarding organisational integrity, fortifying cybersecurity, and ensuring compliance with ethical and sustainability standards, making them integral to the growth of Internal Audit departments.
Since the start of this year, there has been a noticeable shift as 15% of our clients transition towards a more traditional office model, with a decrease in hybrid working. This strategic move reflects evolving organisational preferences and a desire for increased in-person collaboration. The shift to 4 or 5 days in the office signals that companies have reevaluated the dynamics of remote working, emphasising the value of face-to-face interactions for productivity and team cohesion.
This trend suggests a nuanced approach to workplace flexibility, indicating that some sectors are recalibrating their strategies to strike a balance between remote and in-office work for optimal performance. Perhaps there was a hangover from remote working during the pandemic, but companies seem to be reenforcing the need for employees to be back in the office.
In 2024, we are already also seeing the evolving landscape of internal audit leadership reflecting a sustained demand for Heads of Internal Audit with diverse business experience beyond the traditional audit realm. Organisations are increasingly seeking leaders who bring a multifaceted perspective, having worked in functions such as finance, operations, and sales. This trend underscores the importance of a holistic understanding of business operations, risk, and compliance.
Leaders with a background in various business functions are better equipped to align internal audit strategies with broader organisational goals, drive efficiency, and provide valuable insights. The emphasis on cross-functional expertise signals a recognition that effective internal audit leadership extends beyond audit-specific skills. This also contributes towards a more comprehensive and strategic approach to governance, risk management, and compliance within the dynamic business landscape.
Businesses are undergoing a significant transformation in their approach to risk management, prompting a strategic overhaul of risk departments. Several clients are re-evaluating their risk standards, emphasising a more proactive and integrated approach.
Notably, there’s a discernible trend towards increasing headcounts in risk departments, with a predicted surge of 10-15% in 2024. This shift underscores a recognition of the escalating complexities in the business environment, where traditional risk models may fall short. As businesses prioritise resilience and foresight, the expanded teams will play a crucial role in fortifying strategies, managing regulatory landscapes, and ensuring robust risk mitigation, reflecting a forward-thinking stance in the dynamic realm of risk management.
In 2024, the demand for IT auditors with specific technology expertise will surge, highlighting the essential role of key technological knowledge. Proficiency in critical technologies like Cloud (Azure/AWS), SAP (S4/Hana), and customer-focused app developments is paramount. As organisations increasingly rely on these technologies, auditors equipped with specialised knowledge can effectively assess risks, ensure compliance, and fortify cybersecurity measures. Understanding Cloud platforms, SAP implementations, and customer-centric applications allows auditors to steer complex IT environments, making them invaluable assets in safeguarding data integrity and ensuring the resilience of digital infrastructures.