Leadership Spotlight with the Global Head of Internal Audit at Deliveroo

KPP Search interviewed Siebrand Wolberink to give us valuable and interesting insight to his role as Global Head of Internal Audit at Deliveroo.

Siebrand has a master’s degree in Accounting and Control, as well as Public Governance and Organisational Science. He also holds certifications in Internal Auditing (CIA), Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Fraud Examiner (CFE).

His professional career started in 2006 through a traineeship with KPMG in external audit in the Netherlands. In 2010, his thriving career shifted to internal audit when he joined Liberty Global (telco) and subsequently TNT (logistics), where he became responsible for most of the European and North American region.

Siebrand moved to the United States when his wife had a career opportunity. He worked with Protiviti as a contractor, and KPMG within internal audit consulting services. A few years later, another career opportunity was offered to his wife, and they relocated to Scotland, where he established the internal audit and risk management function at travel company Skyscanner.

“It is so important to build and maintain a strong network throughout your career.”

More recently, they moved to London following an exciting opportunity where Siebrand could build a greenfield internal audit function for Deliveroo following the company’s public listing in 2021. He states that most of these international career changes have been made possible by people that he had existing relationships with. He emphasises the point that it is so important to build and maintain a strong network throughout your career.

Siebrand claims that his main motivation to be an internal auditor is because the role provides him with opportunities to drive tangible impact across an entire organisation. This impact can be in areas of compliance and assurance, but also in areas such as risk management, governance, and business performance. He gets a huge amount of enjoyment out of building relationships and collaborating with people across different parts of the organisation.

His typical working day starts with him checking for any urgent emails before breakfast and before settling into his (home) office for the day. He is very deliberate about managing his calendar and believes organisation is key to his role. Interestingly, he prefers to have “deep thinking/meetings” in the morning instead of the afternoon. At 6pm he picks up his children from nursery, spends time with his family, and then will finish is working day and plan his day ahead, once the children are in bed.

“Time doesn’t come back”

Siebrand mentions that when he started his career, he realises how he didn’t appreciate the importance and concept of time. He affirms that he is increasingly thoughtful and disciplined about how he spends his time to achieve his goals and that it’s incredibly important, both early on as well as later in your career. Time doesn’t come back.

When we asked if there’s anything he would change about his profession, Siebrand made an interesting statement. The profession has increasingly changed from a tick-in-the-box compliance focus to become a change agent. Additionally, you are a trusted advisor for senior leadership who acts as a valued independent business partner. There is still more opportunity for auditors to make sure they have the right skillset and gravitas that is essential for ensuring a seat at the leadership tables.

Building and maintaining relationships and trust are the most important skills for this profession. I would advise anyone in this career that they need to show Integrity, credibility, grit, courage and determination, curiosity, pro-activeness, conscientiousness for this role. All these qualities are absolutely essential.

“Internal audit identified the pandemic as an emerging risk months before the pandemic was declared”

Siebrand claims that Covid-19 has been an accelerator for Deliveroo’s growth as people could order delicious food at the safe comfort of their home. Indeed, the opposite effect was true in Skyscanner as global travel virtually halted, significantly impacting the company’s revenue. This was a difficult time for the organisation as costs had to be very closely managed. Covid-19 also impacted how they operated the integrated internal audit and risk management function.

Internal audit identified the pandemic as an emerging risk months before the pandemic was declared, and subsequently organised and coordinated a company-wide Covid-19 taskforce. Siebrand is convinced that the specific resilience plans which were put in place contributed to weather the Covid-19 storm. In addition, his audit plan became very agile with a focus on driving impact on areas which helped protect the company’s assets and cash flow. The pandemic made him realise the importance of operating agile audit techniques to increase internal audit’s ability to drive relevant timely insights with the business specifically in times of unexpected or significant changes.

Siebrand states that over the last decade, the audit profession has been evolving from primary compliance / assurance to becoming much more of a valued and trusted change agent. This has been enabled through increased use of data analytics and information technology

Moving forwards, he says that trends in technology are developing at a fast pace, and internal audit needs to keep up. This includes to keep abreast of topics like cloud, applied artificial intelligence, cyber – and eventually even themes like quantum technologies. With a traditional accounting or IT degree, auditors will not necessarily be able to give assurance on these topics. There will be an increased need to engage with subject matter experts to continue adding stakeholder value and for our internal audit profession to remain relevant. Common misconceptions are that internal audit only reports on issues that mostly are already known by management – and is essentially there to check people’s homework.
On a final note, Siebrand says that internal audit is a valuable career ground and provides lots of opportunities to learn new things every day. Auditors get to work across a wide range of business functions and different levels of seniority. His recommendation is not to let this opportunity go to waste and be very conscientious about the valuable opportunities this position brings!

Siebrand has recently been exploring agile internal audit methodologies and recommends the book “Doing Agile Right” by Darrell Rigby and other authors. His top 3 apps used on his phone are Slack, Email and WhatsApp.

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