Abdulqader Obaid Ali: Technological transformation to change the future of internal auditing
More than 700 internal auditing professionals, decision-makers participate in the conference
ABU DHABI, UAE, April 19, 2017: The UAE Internal Auditors Association is playing a key role in facilitating education of internal auditors in our country by offering an invaluable training and education to its almost 2,000 members and working effectively to increasing the number of Emirati auditors.
These words came from His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, who inaugurated the 18th Annual Regional Conference, organised by the UAE IAA in Abu Dhabi today.
His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan said: “Our great leader His Highness the President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has highlighted competence as a leading explanation of the success of the United Arab Emirates and indeed, as we reflect on the nature of success in our country, we would agree that fulfilling the great potential of professionals such as yourself is a necessary condition. We expect professionals in our country to be competent and well trained to serve the needs of our people, our companies and our communities. Our societies expect professionals with high ethical standards, ones who are perceived as effective and who have specialised knowledge and expertise.”
“Our leaders can only fulfil their vision if we, the people who support them, do our job. And I maintain that we will never rise to the necessary level of excellence if we are not always seeking to learn and enhance our competence. In this conference, you are fulfilling our society’s expectations that identify you as learning and competent auditors.”
HE Sheikh Nahayan also honoured Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO Masdar and Hassan Al Mulla, President of IIA Qatar with the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the conference.
The 2-day conference is the largest “Smart” conference and a premier Internal Audit event in the Middle East and has participation of more than 700 attendees including heads of organisations, experts and professionals from internal auditing and other industries from across the GCC and beyond.
Abdulqader Obaid Ali, President, UAE Internal Auditors Association (IAA), in his address ‘What CEOs expect from Internal Audit in the Hyperloop Era’, said: “Traditional way of auditing faces the biggest challenge of adapting itself to the rapid technological transformation. The challenge is not only at the level of organisations but also individuals and the speed at which technology is transforming global business scenario, human auditors could well be replaced by machines in the future.”
Highlighting the changes being witnessed in the global business scenario, Obaid Ali said: “Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionising the way people live, work, travel and do business. By 2020, over 24 billion IoT devices will be installed, more than $6 trillion will be invested by businesses and governments on IoT solutions.
The UAE is a front runner when it comes to adopting technology. By 2021, Dubai government will see its last paper transaction. We can expect many more changes since technology gives numerous benefits including reduction in operating costs by almost 25 per cent, increased productivity and ease of expansion to new markets. We are clearly in an era of digital revolution and these changes point to only one thing, that we must adapt to the change. The question is whether traditional auditing is ready to deal with this rapid IT transformation.”
He said technology would likely change the auditors of future too. The key priority for internal auditing should be to deal with the risks of cyber threats and data privacy, added Obaid Ali.
“In today’s hyperloop era, CEOs expect alignment of audit committee with management and internal audit and integration of compliance among different departments within an organisation. Data leakage and security is a very critical area and internal auditors need to build a culture of data security in their organisations,” said Obaid Ali.
Mohammed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer, Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company on ‘The Journey from Internal Audit to CEO’, shared the journey of his career and learnings along the path. “Internal auditors have access to all the departments in their organisations, which gives them immense power, and at the same time, an opportunity and responsibility to contribute to the success of their organisation. Internal auditing is not only about the usual functions of risk assessment and detecting errors, it is much beyond that and internal auditors must seek to maximise the value for their organisations,” he said.
The inaugural day of the conference had ‘Rapid Fire Presentations’ on ‘Practical assurance on the change elements of VAT by Anthony Blenkey, Director of Internal Audit (UAE and Qatar) Moore Stephens; Robotics: The Future of IA is now by Gavin Maxwell from EY; Best Practices for Leveraging Audit Technology by Michael Gowell, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Team Mate; Internal Audit Analytics: Advantages and Challenges by Ziad El Haddad from Delloitte; The changing world order by Hisham El Tohami; Auditing Corporate Culture by Phillip Z. Fretwell, Regional Managing Director, Protiviti; Internal Audit Driving Resilient Organisations by David Warham, Director Business Resilience, PwC; Identifying, reporting manipulations and cost savings using Data Analytics by Cristian Carstoui, Director, KPMG, and Sudarshana Bharati, Associate Director, KPMG.