Audit & Compliance: Bringing Sexy Back

Brian Wood Blog

Audit and compliance roles are not yet the most sexy, sought-after jobs in the market… but the post below indicates that such folks are becoming more strategic (or at least have the potential to become more strategic) in their organizations.

By Jim Kim in FierceComplianceIT.

Emphasis in red added by me.

Brian Wood, VP Marketing


Chief audit executives eye more strategic role

The Holy Grail for a lot of executives without direct P&L responsibility for their companies’ main product line is apparently to play a more strategic role. We have heard variations on this theme for years now.

A great example involves the CFO. Time and again, consultants have suggested that CFOs are now strategically inclined, more willing and able than ever to break out of their traditional silo and put themselves in line to run their companies someday. We’ve heard similar sentiment voiced about compliance executives, about how the data they generate via the compliance process could used beyond mere compliance, meriting a seat at the strategic table.

Grant Thornton makes similar points regarding chief audit executives, based on a recent survey.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of CAEs trying to shift focus and efforts from their historic compliance-related roles to being more strategic contributors to their organizations,” said Warren Stippich, Grant Thornton’s national Governance, Risk and Compliance practice leader, in a release.

CAEs, who have a wealth of knowledge about their organizations, are in a really good position to continue down the path of value creation. But, it’s not without its challenges—it requires using technology, being smarter about audit approaches, and getting more involved both at the business unit or process level and the strategic thinking level.”

More CAEs strive to position their departments as strategic partners these days, but they also acknowledge they need “to make strides when it comes to delivering business insights. Respondents cite budget constraints (58 percent), talent limitations (51 percent) and image problems (51 percent) as barriers that impede internal audit from delivering greater insights and strategic value.”

All in all, it will be a long time before a chief audit executive, chief compliance officer, or chief risk officer is tapped by the board to run the entire company. However, Gregory Curl, former chief risk officer at Bank of America, was in the running in 2009 to become the CEO of the bank, before losing out to current CEO Brian Moynihan.