Factors influencing the growth of the internal audit profession in Kenya
Mwangi, P. G.
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Professional associations are charitable organizations that are formed to regulate a profession and to further its interests. Practicing professionals are expected to meet the minimum acceptable standards set by their profession. In enforcing standards, professional associations are responsible for ensuring that the public at large enjoys the best services that professionals can offer. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), which was incorporated in 1941, is recognized world wide as the body that represents the profession of Internal Auditing. One of the key roles of the Internal Audit profession is to review and recommend improvements to governance processes. For Internal Auditors to be effective there is need for the Institute to build the capacity of the profession to appropriate levels. The objective of the study was to examine the factors that would influence the growth of the Internal Audit profession. The target population from which the sample was drawn from was internal auditors working for organizations in Nairobi. A representative sample was drawn using the Proportionate Stratified Random Sampling Method. Computer generated random numbers were used to select respondents. Primary data was collected through questionnaires. Descriptive statistics such as measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion were computed with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Out of the 120 questionnaires distributed, a total of 91 were responded to which gives a response rate of 76%. In summary, the respondents indicated that the majority of internal auditors were accountants and members of ICPAK. Regarding continuous professional education, sponsorship by employers was found to contribute to seminar attendance. The secretariat was found out to be a place where members visited either regularly or frequently to renew exams or membership and to attend training. The level of quality assurance awareness was high but training of QA assessors was yet to be conducted. Respondents were of the opinion that there was insufficient government support for the profession and that existing legislation did not address the needs of the profession. A majority of internal auditors reported to audit committees, a practice considered to enhance independence. However, a significant proportion of internal auditors reported to other offices such as the chief executive officer and the board of directors, a practice that is believed to erode their independence. According to the respondents, a majority of internal auditors embraced information technology by using computer assisted audit techniques (CAAT), employing an IT specialist and reviewing IT controls. The role of internal auditors was regarded by a majority of respondents as being appraisal of internal controls, review of efficiency of operations and internal consultants to management. It is recommended that HA certifications such as CIA should be promoted among members of the accounting profession which is a fertile ground for internal auditors. Awareness of the existence of the IIA should be created among ICPAK members. The IIA should reexamine the needs of members and provide training and services that meet these needs. The IIA should also lobby for new legislation that will contribute to the recognition and growth of the internal audit profession. Lastly, the CIA certification should be promoted among internal auditors in order to change perceptions of their role in organizations