Merging the audit and logistic worlds.
Entity: DP World
Position: Chief Internal Auditor
Worked at PwC until: 2007
Line of Service: Assurance
I joined PwC Leeds office, UK in 1998, working in their assurance function. Following a trip to Dubai, I was mesmerised by the pace of change here and knew I wanted to contribute to its incredible journey. PwC supported my secondment to their Dubai office, where I worked until 2007 and then joined DP World’s newly formed internal audit function.
Starting off as an internal audit manager, I moved up to become Director of Internal Audit in 2013. Now, seven years later, as Group Chief Internal Auditor, I am responsible for providing DP World’s global internal audit services as well as Enterprise Risk & Resilience and the Fraud Risk Services. To help us drive our digital transformation journey within the team, we recently set up a Digital Assurance Services function which delivers data analytics support to our team and utilises new technologies to help us deliver smarter auditing.
In 2014, the IIA invited me to join its first tranche of students to take their new Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership. I am also an Authorised Training Principal for the ICAEW to support our team members in their ACA qualifications.
I very much enjoy working with a team of incredibly talented professionals who all demonstrate a passion for our profession and our company.
PwC gave me such an incredible opportunity to train for my chartered accountancy qualification whilst gaining work experience from the ground-up in the Assurance function. The variety of companies we worked with enabled me to find out what I enjoyed doing the most – to help improve governance, risk management and internal controls with practical solutions.
PwC offered regular, diverse training and ‘upgrading’. Targeting required technical areas as well as the critically important soft skills such as interviewing, presentation delivery, impactful reporting, and influencing others. PwC importantly demanded such a high quality in its customer deliverables, and those important lessons taught in my 9 years with PwC still ring true in my ears every time I review a report or presentation.
Wanting to further explore and expand my international business experience through the opportunity offered by my current role. Having now travelled and audited in nearly 40 countries, I have been lucky to experience first-hand many different cultures, and ways of delivering our work really opened my eyes. This has helped me build a valuable toolbox of tips and tricks to problem-solve with my teams. Realising along the way that I love the work I do is a bonus.
Exploring how to help further evolve the internal audit profession and its image. It has evolved over time from audits of financial records, to a true independent advisor.
Enabling governance, risk management, resource conservation and data verification and analysis. The topics can range from risks in social media, sustainability, culture, cloud, IT security and blockchain.
This requires a skilled team to deliver so it is critical that we seek to develop training programmes to ‘future-proof’ our internal auditors, as well as recruit talented individuals. At DP World, we are always on the look out to recruit high calibre candidates with a variety of skills, who wish to join our team.
Within Internal Audit’s mandate, I believe we are so uniquely positioned with the work we do. How many other functions have the access to people, systems, data that we do? In addition to that, as technology gets faster, it seems the opportunities are endless to digitalise the work that we do and build formidable hybrid risk intelligence through both human and virtual auditors – thus enabling smarter auditing.
Identify and build upon your own unique strengths. We tend to focus so much on our development areas, but fostering excellence in the things we do well can help us build high performing teams.
Passionate people inspire me. In my current role, watching our talented teams come together around an idea, taking ownership of it and turning it into an innovative reality is what inspires me the most.
Watching ideas grow until we can deliver valuable solutions to business problems is what drives me. All my bosses both past and present have had something in common. They show passion and heart in their decision-making. That motivates me to want to give my absolute best every time.
My superpower would be to know what people are feeling. I believe that in these digital times we are living in, real value can be found in harnessing what makes us human.
As a leader, the current pandemic has only further reinforced to me the importance of emotional intelligence in managing our team’s human and emotional complexity.
Over the last three months, we have led our teams through this crisis. Making decisions, often with unknown scope and no clear end in sight, and our teams balancing work/life responsibilities. This has demanded true holistic leadership, endless compassion, empathy and self awareness.
Great question for an auditor. Hand it into the police with the details of where I found it and then really hope the true owner doesn’t rightfully claim it!
My first instinct was to say a bird. The ability to have an overview of everything, yet the option of deep-diving into different situations as I see fit. With the agility and freedom to go anywhere, and change direction at short notice to fit the circumstances. Perhaps this would improve my singing as well which would be a bonus.
Switch: How to change things when change is hard, by Chip and Dan Heath.
I found it packed full of really actionable tools to help manage change, with real life stories. That to achieve sustained change, we can’t just persuade people rationally, we must engage people’s positive emotions like pride, hope, joy and interest. I shared a copy of it with all my team members after I first read it. Simple and powerful.