The President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola, has said skills and competence of Nigerian Internal Auditors must change for them to gain relevance.
Jaiyeola made the assertion while speaking with newsmen on Wednesday at the National Conference/Annual General meeting of Committee of Heads of Internal Audit Department/units in Nigerian Universities (CHIADINU) in Ilorin.
The conference has it theme as, ‘Fight against corruption in Nigeria: The role of internal auditors.’
He said updating of skills and competency has become more urgent for internal auditors working in academic environments.
“The level of exposure and intellectual capacity are high in academic environments and the tendency of some mischievous elements to deploy such knowledge in perpetrating fraudulent activities with precision is also high.
“So, internal auditors must equip themselves with the knowledge of data visualisation/analytics, agile internal audit, adoption of robotic process automation and block chain.
“The 21st century auditor has new job description requiring higher skills to meet the demands of time,” Jaiyeola said.
He noted that the head of internal audit should be of same status as bursar of the university.
“What we see in reality is that the head if internal audit is usually of lower status to the bursar, this is an aberration that should not be allowed to survive.
“The head of internal audit should as a matter of policies and procedure report to a Committee of Council and only administratively to the vice chancellor,” the ICAN president said.
Jaiyeola, however, advised that it was important to train and retrain audit staff and also subject them to integrity test.
“Once in a while, it is important to subject internal audit staff to integrity test to ensure that they are always in line and in tune with the sensitive nature of their assignment.
“To facilitate this, every university should have a Directorate of Ethics. It is also important to regularly train the audit staff to ensure they are at their best in terms of practical and theoretical perspectives of their assignment.
“The selection of audit staff should be through a very rigorous screening process and employment by introduction should not be encouraged.
“Then, the head of internal audit should not be part of school politics so as not to affect their independence,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference which started on Nov. 19 will end on Nov. 23.