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The UAE Internal Audit Association UAE (UAE IAA) will start an academy to train auditors and qualify them for international certification in audit profession, according to Abdul Qader Obaid Ali, UAE IAA chairman Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE Internal Audit Association UAE (UAE IAA) will start an academy to train auditors and qualify them for international certification in audit profession, Abdul Qader Obaid Ali, UAE IAA chairman, said on the sidelines of the 8th Chief Audit Executive (CAE) Conference of the International Internal Audit Association in Dubai on Wednesday.

The academy aims to popularise the internal audit profession among aspiring internal auditors in the country and the region.

“Audit profession is gaining popularity among UAE nationals and the government has been very supportive in recognising the value of internal audit. From 2013, it has been made mandatory to have internal audit in every government department. Now there is wide recognition among both government and private sector organisations on the importance of governance,” said Ali.

Currently, 22 per cent of members of the UAE IAA are Emiratis. In building awareness among students on audit profession, the UAE IAA is already collaborating with educational institutions such as the Higher College of Technology, Zayed University and the University of Sharjah.

To advocate for the profession, it plans to visit universities to explain the opportunities in the profession.

“It is important to communicate to the young generation what the profession is all about and what are the career opportunities it brings. It is not just finance professionals who need to be in the audit profession. On the contrary, we need professionals such as doctors and engineers to join the profession because the best people to audit a profession are people from within,” said Ali.

To make the international audit standards more accessible to Arabic speaking professionals, the UAE IAA is translating the global audit standards, a quality assurance manual for internal audit, into Arabic.

Emerging challenges

The Chief Audit Executive (CAE) Conference which opened in Dubai on Wednesday discussed the future and challenges of the profession in light of the gradual shift towards adopting Artificial Intelligence in audit processes, and the necessity to change the traditional work methods.

The two-day conference on November 20-21 is being held with the participation of more than 300 chief audit executives from more than seven countries from around the world.

Speakers at the conference emphasised the need for auditors to get ready for changes in the context of widespread use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“Challenges are increasing and the profession’s stakeholders should get themselves prepared by acquainting themselves with the insights and latest findings of international experts, and by recognising that what used to work one way or the other in the past would no longer be applicable in the future; hence is the significance of the conference and the topics it raises for internal auditors in the UAE and the region,” said Ali.

Addressing the conference is held under the theme of ‘Technology redefines internal audit’, Jenitha John, senior vice-chairman, IIA Global, said digitisation and application of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are bringing in both challenges and opportunities to the profession.

“Challenges range from finding new talent, innovative mindset, capability to adapt fast to new technologies, accepting new norms for risk management in the context of an ever-growing list of non-financial risk,” John.