On the CAE agenda: Q2 2021

Explore Chief Audit Executive priorities around internal audit strategy and value management, business risks, workforce, and IA operating agility.

Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith

Partner, Advisory, and U.S. Internal Audit Solution Leader, KPMG US

+1 214-840-6019

Richard Knight

Richard Knight

Principal, Advisory, and U.S. IT-Internal Audit Solutions Leader, Technology Risk Management, KPMG US

+1 703-286-8393


The role and focus of internal audit (IA) is ever-evolving. This piece provides quick insights into what IA leaders are currently hearing, considering, doing, and discussing with their stakeholders across the core elements of their CAE agenda.

New topics on the agenda are marked with an asterisk (*) on this page and bolded in the document.


On the CAE agenda: Q2 2021
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The agenda

Strategy and value management:

  • aligning as a proactive and more strategic partner over being a watchdog
  • IA as a source of consultation regarding emerging risks
  • evolving the IA brand, especially how to “walk the halls” in a virtual setting


Business risks impacting the audit plan:


  • transformation initiatives and large projects
  • environmental, social and governance (ESG)
  • IA’s role in the future of work and digital transformation* 
  • mergers and acquisitions and integration activity
  • trust and safety (employees, customers, etc.)
  • digitalization and direct to consumer and connected commerce channel
  • new products and innovative revenue models
Technology and information security:
  • cloud-based applications and governance
  • cybersecurity, especially ransomware incident response
  • third-party vendor management, cyber security*

Operational, financial and other:

  • mobile workforce
  • fraud risks*
  • effective employee onboarding in a remote (temporary/permanent) work environment, with a focus on education related to required control operation*
  • supply chain


Workforce and capabilities:

  • maturing data analytics and insights capabilities
  • shifting skillsets needed given shifts in IA delivery model
  • acumen around technology across the organization
  • talent acquisition, both hiring and retention
  • talent management, development and team morale and knowledge sharing in a virtual setting (emotional intelligence)


Audit operations:

  • operating with increased agility, and adapting the IA risk assessment and plan accordingly
  • increasing alignment and work with second line roles to avoid duplication of efforts
  • reassessment of IA operating model to evolve and/or reduce cost as the business is