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Leadership matters:

Delivering Internal Audit excellence as stakeholders expect more.

2016 State of the Internal Audit Profession

Leadership matters 

Today’s corporate leaders find themselves in a business environment that is becoming increasingly complex. PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey reveals that CEOs are becoming more and more concerned about a wide range of risks, including top threats of overregulation and geopolitical uncertainty. At the sametime, those CEOs acknowledge that their customers and other stakeholders increasingly want them to do more in tackling important problems. Despite the tremendous challenges they face in managing their businesses for today, they must also look ahead with a view to build businesses that are ready for what will be the even more complex global marketplace of the future.

Strong Internal Audit leaders build functions that excel at delivering value today while they evolve to stay current with emerging business needs and risks. Our global 2016 State of the Internal Audit Profession Study explores the characteristics that define standout leadership.

How very effective leaders deliver greater value

Our study reveals that in delivering Internal Audit excellence the most effective Internal Audit leaders consistently exhibit five characteristics.

  • Vision
  • Talent
  • Position
  • Communication
  • Business alignment

of very effective leaders are confident in preserving a vision for the function, even during periods of significant change


Very effective Internal Audit leaders possess a strong vision that aligns with both an organisation’s strategic direction and stakeholders’ expectations. Visionary leaders are able to see not only where they want to go but also what they have to do to get there, and they foster innovation within their function.


of very effective leaders co-source to supplement internal talent

Talent management

Very effective leaders excel at the development and mentorship of people and have the courage to design a talent model that aligns with both a company’s business and Internal Audit’s vision. Internal Audit leaders who excel at talent management deploy various strategies that deliver the right people with the right skills in the right locations at the right times, by leveraging both internal and external resources.


of very effective leaders use their influence to strengthen the overall control environment


Strong executive positioning within an organisation empowers very effective leaders to be active participants in executive meetings, facilitates a proactive perspective on strategic risks the organisation is facing, influences others, and builds a culture of controls throughout the organisation. Very effective internal audit leaders are empowered by stakeholders to drive value and change, and they use their position to offer greater business contributions.


of very effective leaders possess strong executive presence and communicate with impact


Very effective leaders are confident, composed, and authentic. They bring bold perspectives, think broadly about the organisation, and communicate powerfully as peers in executive forums. In fact, very effective leaders excel at communicating with stakeholders, drawing connections, effecting change, protecting the business, and communicating the value delivered.


of very effective leaders perform well at aligning scope and audit plan with the strategic direction of the business

Business alignment

There is a focus on developing relationships based on trust throughout the business from very effective leaders. By establishing close partnerships, they become able to understand what is happening in the business, align with transformational changes, and get ahead of risks while balancing objectivity. Very effective leaders also collaborate across the lines of defences to play greater roles in the coordination of risk management across functions to make sure that risks get handled most effectively and with optimal efficiency—again, while maintaining objectivity.


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Contact us

Jill Emney

Jill Emney

UK Internal Audit Services Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7850 515690

Geraldine Rutter

Geraldine Rutter

Regions Internal Audit Commercial Sector Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 121 265 5111

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