Internal Audit of the Future:

Impact of technology innovation

High-volume transactions and complex technological interactions are forcing us to rethink how we approach internal assurance, including internal audit, risk management, and compliance.

How can your internal audit function become more strategic? By integrating emerging technologies with everyday operations to ultimately reimagine internal audit. But most internal audit and control functions are not ready for this new reality. The disconnect between the way our world now runs and the ability of internal assurance functions to conduct meaningful internal audits is reaching a crisis point.

Only 19% of those surveyed in PwC’s 2019 State of the Internal Audit Profession Study were “digitally fit” compared to their peers, and even that minority are not fully prepared for digital disruption.

Four considerations to help facilitate your journey toward emerging technology internal assurance

Intelligent Automation and AI

Companies are using intelligent automation and AI to reduce costs and increase efficiency. As AI tools get “smarter,” they can help drive better decision-making, as long as the potential risks are understood.


If implemented correctly, blockchain can enable the creation of transaction processing systems with much higher-than-standard levels of trust. It may not be the answer to every challenge internal assurance faces, however. There is a need to establish industry standards and ways to audit blockchain systems.

Cyber Resilience

While cybersecurity awareness has grown, the overall rise in cyberattacks underscores the importance of continuously improving cyber resilience, agile defense and recovery capabilities.

Continuous Auditing

Continuous auditing can be an important mechanism for aligning internal audit activities more closely with the actual pace of transaction processing. Companies that implement continuous auditing have been able to redirect internal auditors' focus so they can serve as business consultants—identifying trends, investigating exceptions, and guiding strategy.

“Our heavy reliance on technology, its overwhelming benefits, and its commercial success depend on trust. And that trust, in turn, requires assurance that technology is soundly designed and functioning as intended. This is where internal audit comes in.”

A. Michael Smith,Internal Audit of the Future: The Impact of Technology Innovation, 2019.

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Mike Maali

Mike Maali

Partner, Risk and Regulatory, PwC US

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