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Internal Assessor: Watchdog or Trusted Advisor?

Publication Date: Jun 27, 2019
 

Written by: Charlie George Formentin


Formentin Charlie George 146698a.jpgThe use of Internal Assessments in any organisation may be considered as a tangible line of protection when it comes to ensuring the overall operational Governance. This protection consists of activities covered by several components of internal governance including compliance, identification of new risks, and verification of the organizations’ overall practices.

The internal assessment activities are today considered tools for value addition in the forms of assessor and advisor.

It is well recognised by many senior business leaders that internal assessment has an increasingly important role in the overall assessment and risk management of any business; in achieving its business objectives; and as an advisor to the business and its key stakeholders.

Internal assessors are now expected to play a key role through the provision of guidance to the business, in addressing strategic and emerging business risks. This is particularly evident in the wide range of assessment activities now undertaken by internal assessment, moving from the standard operational and ISO audits to business strategy, risk management effectiveness, value for money and governance assessments.

To achieve internal assessments success, it should be viewed as a competent and valuable tool. While assurance will always be the primary function of internal assessment, advisory services are essential to the effective implementation and execution of business processes.

It is therefore essential that internal assessment is perceived to be proactive in providing strategic advice, so that it becomes a trusted advisor and not just a watchdog to the business.

Once an agreement with the stakeholders has been reached, and key performance indicators have been set, the internal assessor’s role is to monitor and report the business performance to top management to ensure that targets are being achieved and that where problems are being highlighted, action is taken to mitigate any possible issue.

Further, the internal assessor will ensure that the business complies to local legislations and ISO standards against any policies or procedures the business elects to adopt.

The internal assessor is also the businesses interface with external certification auditing bodies, providing support to all aspects of the business during these audits. The role also aids business areas to resolve the findings that may arise during external audits, by helping understand the standards against which the business is certified.

To improve business expectations, it is essential that the internal assessment team presents a strategic internal assessment plan that is approved by top management, which should give their unconditional support to their trusted advisor.

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In conclusion, the internal assessor should be regarded as a “colleague” who is working with you to help you achieve the highest possible standards, minimising the risks involved.