Chapter 15Communication and Influence

Begin with the end in mind.

—Stephen Covey

An internal auditor cannot be truly great without being an excellent communicator. Analytical skills and technical expertise will allow internal auditors to identify key improvement opportunities within an organization. However, without an ability to communicate well, both verbally and in writing, internal auditors are unlikely to influence management to make requisite changes.

Excellent communication is required at every stage of the internal audit process. During strategic planning, the chief audit executive needs to communicate with the audit committee and senior managers to ensure their expectations are realistic and appropriately reflected in the internal audit strategy and charter.

Communication with a broad range of stakeholders during annual audit planning maximizes the potential for the plan to accurately reflect the strategic priorities and risks of the organization. Likewise, effective communication throughout engagement planning and fieldwork provides assurance that engagement objectives will be met in a fair, accurate, and impartial manner.

Chief audit executives should develop clear communication pathways with internal and external stakeholders. These should help position the internal audit function as a professional, strategic partner, and enhance the overall influence that internal audit wields.

Understanding Stakeholder Needs

Baker (2011) notes, “Every great communicator tailors ...

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