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Externally Assessing Quality

Good managers are not afraid to be critiqued. They understand that “a second set of eyes” can sometimes identify emerging issues or offer insights into different ways of working. External assessments provide that opportunity for internal audit functions.

Pitt Group worked with a government agency to undertake an external quality assessment of its internal audit function. The review was intended to determine whether internal audit:

  • was effective and focused on the right areas 

  • was as efficient as possible 

  • added value 

  • was well-respected and influential 

  • understood stakeholder needs and expectations, and was meeting them 

  • used contemporary professional practices 

  • had the right strategies for future success 

  • was appropriately structured and resourced 

  • had a good relationship with other assurance functions 

  • was playing an active role in relation to risk management. 

  • was conforming with the IIA’s Standards.


The review was conducted during Covid border closures and undertaken remotely. Key activities included:

  1. initial planning discussions with the chief audit executive (CAE) and audit team

  2. review of internal audit policies and procedures

  3. surveys of audit stakeholders

  4. review of a sample of internal audit working papers and discussions with the relevant auditors

  5. interviews with stakeholders, including the audit committee, senior executive, external auditor, other assurance providers, and business areas relevant to the sampled engagements

  6. benchmarking against peer internal audit functions

  7. identification of better practices, conformance issues and maturity opportunities.


Pitt Group incorporated a maturity assessment into the review and determined a target maturity level with the CAE and key stakeholders.


Following the assessment, Pitt Group collaborated with the CAE to develop a quality action plan to address identified issues, which they incorporated into the external assessment report for senior management and the audit committee.

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