Risk Management and IT Audit Skills Most in Need of Improvement Within Internal Audit Departments, According to Protiviti Survey

    New Research Assesses Current Competencies and Needs in the Internal Audit

    MENLO PARK, Calif., March 29 /CNW/ -- In a just-released study, internal
audit practitioners cited risk management and IT auditing as the top two areas
for improvement in the profession.  These and other findings are detailed in
Protiviti's inaugural Internal Audit Capabilities and Needs Survey report. 
Protiviti is a leading provider of independent internal audit and business and
technology risk consulting services.
    (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20051101/SFTU041LOGO )
    Fraud risk management (FRM), enterprise risk management (ERM) and the
COSO ERM framework also stand out as key technical competencies in need of
improvement, despite the relatively high competency levels reported by
respondents.  These results underscore the high importance of these areas for
organizations as they seek to achieve greater success in an ever-changing
global business climate.
    "Today's internal audit professionals have more diverse and higher-level
responsibilities than ever before," said Bob Hirth, managing director and head
of Protiviti's global internal audit practice.  "This has created the need for
a proportional increase in their knowledge, skills and expertise, particularly
in those areas deemed to be business-critical by management and boards of
directors.  The survey results provide insights not only into how these
professionals rate their skills in a variety of functions, but also about the
relationship between their perceived capabilities and the critical areas for
improvement.  This has significant implications for the future direction of
internal auditing and its role in helping organizations grow and prosper."
    Recognizing the growing scope and complexity of duties in the internal
audit profession, Protiviti surveyed more than 450 chief audit executives
(CAEs), internal audit directors, managers and other professionals to better
understand the evolving functions of internal audit departments within
organizations across a variety of industry sectors.  Respondents rated how
they perceive their present capabilities, where they see need for improvement,
and how they prioritize those needs within the areas of general technical
knowledge, audit process knowledge, and personal skills and capabilities.
    Under the audit process knowledge section, survey respondents identified
auditing IT functions (including security, continuity and change control) as
an area with a lower level of overall competency and one with a significant
need for improvement in knowledge and skills.  "These results underscore a key
challenge for internal audit departments and functions," Hirth noted.  "Given
the constantly changing nature of IT and the specialized expertise required to
audit these processes, it is imperative for internal auditors to acquire and
keep current with IT audit skills.  In addition to improving baseline IT audit
skills, internal audit organizations may also look to outside expertise to
guide them in this technically difficult, dynamic and complex area."
    Protiviti's survey also addressed personal skills.  Respondents cited
developing board committee member relationships (outside of the audit
committee) as the area with the lowest average competency and the greatest
need for improvement.
    "This may reflect a tendency among internal auditors to focus their
attention on the audit committee, whose members may be more likely to 'speak
their language,' and with whom, traditionally, interaction and relationships
have been frequent and strong," Hirth said.
    At the other end of the spectrum, written communication skills have the
highest competency ratings among those from all sizes of businesses, in all
industries and at all levels of responsibility.
    To request a complimentary copy of the Internal Audit Capabilities and
Needs Survey report, please visit www.protiviti.com.  Enterprises interested
in conducting the survey within their own internal audit departments and
benchmarking their results against the responses Protiviti received may
contact Michelle Trowbridge at michelle.trowbridge@protiviti.com.

    About Protiviti Inc.
    Protiviti (www.protiviti.com) is a leading provider of independent risk
consulting and internal audit services.  The company provides consulting and
advisory services to help clients identify, assess, measure and manage
financial, operational and technology-related risks encountered in their
industries, and assists in the implementation of the processes and controls to
enable their continued monitoring.  Protiviti also offers a full spectrum of
internal audit services to assist management and directors with their internal
audit functions, including full outsourcing, co-sourcing, technology and tool
implementation, and quality assessment and readiness reviews.
    Protiviti, which has more than 50 locations in the Americas, Asia-Pacific
and Europe, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half International Inc.
(NYSE symbol: RHI).  Founded in 1948, Robert Half International is a member of
the S&P 500 index.

    NOTE:  Protiviti is not licensed or registered as a public accounting
firm and does not issue opinions on financial statements or offer attestation

For further information:

For further information: Kevin Donahue, +1-650-234-6385, or 
kevin.donahue@protiviti.com, or Kathy Keller, +1-650-234-6252, or 
kathy.keller@protiviti.com, both of Protiviti Inc. Web Site:

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