PwC Global Internal Audit Study 2023

Seeing through walls to build a more risk-resilient business

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  • Issue
  • 3 Minute Read

Many organisations have internal obstacles that create ‘walls’, such as functional silos that are hard to cross, information and data that is difficult to access or trust, and communication gaps that are hard to change. Walls that restrict agility, stifle innovation and limit the power of working as one organisation. Internal auditing provides an objective means to ‘see through’ – and ultimately break down – these walls, to build a more risk-resilient business.


“Megatrends are driving rapid global change in areas like technology, geopolitics, climate, supply chains, regulation, and workstyle reform. These changes are not occurring in isolation, but rather they are interconnected, interwoven, and ‘stacking up’ to create complex risks. In other words, organisations are facing a new reality—a ‘risk multiverse’.”

PwC Global Internal Audit Study 2023

Five key findings

The study highlights and explores five key findings, showing why they matter to IA and its stakeholders, the impact on organisations, and practical tips to address them.

Recent megatrends are interconnected and stacking up to create new risks – unprecedented in scale, disruption and complexity – forcing organisations to speed up transformation and change their core strategies.

IA’s (1) risk and controls mindset, (2) independence and objectivity, and (3) business knowledge and experience, is a unique combination that makes IA ideally placed to help organisations connect the dots and navigate risk and complexity.

The study provides examples of IA functions pushing forward to tackle today’s megatrends in areas such as supply chain disruption, rapid IT modernisation, and acceleration of artificial intelligence (AI).

Driven by increased complexity and higher stakes of this risk multiverse, business executives are opening the door for IA to help them address more strategic areas: Management wants better risk conversations. But if IA is not tackling an organisation’s greatest threats, how can it be considered the last line of defence?

The study provides examples of how IA can seize this opportunity to engage differently with its stakeholders to provide new strategic value, or risk becoming irrelevant.

Risks are not always easy to see — they can be too big or buried in complex and multi-layered technical areas. Their potential impact on the business can be hard to pinpoint. IA can shine a light on areas others may not clearly see, but it cannot see everything, all of the time. However, IA is uniquely positioned to help combine the expertise of first and second line leaders across the organisation, to harness momentum and jointly forge 360-degree risk responses.

The study provides examples of how IA can achieve this in practice.

Technology has become exponentially more sophisticated, providing organisations with access to more information and data than ever before. But if there is no one able to interpret this data, turn it into information and insights, and view it through a risk and assurance lens, it will remain untapped in the real world. IA must continue to evolve its human capabilities to ensure it can turn data into insights into decisions, build new relationships, and help others to see risk differently.

The study identifies the skills that are needed and pathways to build them into the IA function.

Technology investment in recent years has not yielded the returns many have expected, and the next wave of technology is already here. IA’s greatest use of technology and data has been for risk assessment activities, audit planning and continuous monitoring. Some have made great strides in integrating data into IA processes and are seeing the benefits. But nearly a third of IA leaders are not using data and technology to a great extent in any area.

IA needs to recalibrate its approach and work with others to unlock the potential of technology; but the window is closing fast, as the advancement of technology (AI in particular) is redefining what is possible for organisations, business functions and individuals. The study identifies why the ROI is falling short and provides examples of actions to consider.

Download a copy of the study

Find out more about PwC’s Internal Audit services and other insights

Real-time benchmarking — Where do you stand?

Want quick insights into how you compare to the organisations covered in our study? This benchmarking tool allows you to answer a subset of questions from this year’s survey, and compare your responses against the global data set collated as part of the study.

The questions will take approximately 10 minutes to complete, depending on the answers you select.

This research is conducted in accordance with the GDPR, which is designed to safeguard participant confidentiality and anonymity. If you complete the survey, your responses will be combined with others in aggregate for each question, industry, and region/territory to obtain a consensus view. All responses will be kept confidential and individual responses will not be attributed or disclosed without your consent.

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Pascal Tops

Partner, Brussels, PwC Belgium

+32 473 91 03 68


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