The Guardian in Crisis: Internal Audit's Crucial Role in Strengthening Business Resilience

With the increasing uncertainty in the evolving business environment, all organisations must have crisis management and business continuity plans. After all, one of the core tenets of risk management is that we are trying to forecast a future that is unknowable. 

Even more complicated is the fact that we are all biased. Our biases make it much more difficult to create crisis management and business continuity plans that are resilient among all kinds of scenarios. While a plan may seem great on paper, our biases may make it unviable or ineffective in the real world. 

This is where an internal audit can be so valuable. The Internal Audit function plays a crucial role in supporting your organisation, particularly in the most challenging scenarios. Whether you are leading a high-flying startup or are in the C-Suite of a much larger organisation, the Internal Audit function can keep your team accountable and set your business up for success by identifying and mitigating risks, ensuring compliance, and enhancing the effectiveness of your crisis management and business continuity plans.


How does Internal Audits help?

Any sort of audit may send shivers down the spines of CEOs or other executive leaders. That being said, an internal audit here doesn’t need to be like pulling teeth. In actuality, it is a critical exercise that can help you and your team mitigate risk. And that leads to the first benefit of an Internal Audit function here. Essentially, your Internal Audit function can help you identify gaps and weaknesses in your crisis management and business continuity plans. 

By involving the Internal Audit function, you leverage the benefit of their experience. You can rely on your Internal Audit team's years of experience to evaluate your plans and see where they can be improved. Not only that, but they can take your crisis management and business continuity plans and benchmark them against best practices and regulatory requirements. Throughout this entire process, the Internal Audit function can pinpoint the exact places where your plans need to improve. Your Internal Audit function plays a crucial role in ensuring alignment within your organisation. It acts as a unifying force, bringing together all the moving parts of your business continuity and crisis management plans and ensuring they are all on the same page. 

Simply put, your Internal Audit function can be the bridge connecting each of your key stakeholders and departments. The Internal Audit function can take a consulting role, addressing underlying issues, helping you communicate with your team, and increasing the chances of smoothly executing your crisis management and business continuity plans while retaining its objective role. That’s not all. By involving the Internal Audit function, you can run simulations and hypothetical scenarios and obtain their independent view on the effectiveness of your crisis management and business continuity plans. Sure, a crisis management and/or business continuity plan may look great on paper. However, those plans may be drastically different (or fall apart) in the real world. Your Internal Audit function can provide recommendations on how you can improve your plans during such simulations.

 

Providing You with Objective Assurance

Finally, let's discuss independence. We alluded to it at the beginning of this post, but one key benefit of an Internal Audit function is that they can give an objective opinion about your plans. Independence in this context means that the Internal Audit function operates free from any undue influence or bias, allowing them to provide an unbiased assessment of your plans and make recommendations based solely on their professional judgment and expertise. 

It's like hiring a career coach, external consultant, or even a therapist. They can rely on their knowledge and experience to provide uninhibited, objective advice on how to design the best possible plans. This is an extremely powerful trait—even if it can be uncomfortable in the moment. Whether you are looking to change one part of your crisis management plan or are looking for an entirely new business continuity plan, your Internal Audit function can provide objective advice on how to reach your goals. 


Helping You Develop Robust Plans

A key idea with any type of planning is robustness. Because the future is so unknowable, we want to design plans and strategies that will hold up in all different kinds of scenarios. The Internal Audit function can fulfil this role for you and your organisation. By partnering with the Internal Audit function, your organisation can avoid unforced errors, develop robust plans, and have the confidence that those plans will hold up in extremely stressful moments. In other words, you get both tangible and intangible benefits here.

Ultimately, by proactively assessing risks, enhancing crisis preparedness, and fostering a culture of resilience, Internal Audit strengthens the foundation for sustainable growth and long-term success. Internal Audit is not just a reactive function that comes into play during a crisis but a proactive partner that helps your organisation anticipate and prepare for potential risks and challenges.

 

How can BDO help?

Our experienced internal audit professionals can provide a critical external perspective, helping to uncover blind spots and enhance the effectiveness of existing plans. By tapping into our expertise, organisations gain access to tailored solutions that align with best practices and regulatory requirements. Our independence ensures objective evaluations, akin to having a trusted advisor offering unbiased insights.

Partnering with BDO Malta for internal audit services not only strengthens crisis management and business continuity plans but also fosters resilience and preparedness in the face of uncertainty. It's an investment in stability and success, ensuring that organisations are equipped to face challenges effectively and emerge stronger.
 
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