Risk orientation critical to CAE effectiveness – study

Risk orientation, stakeholder management and team leadership are the top three characteristics of the most effective chief audit executives, according to a survey carried out by Gartner.

Whilst conducted amongst a relatively small sample of 114 CAEs, Gartner’s April 2023 survey also suggests that management satisfaction; CAE and audit department performance; perception of the CAE; audit engagement quality; CAE impact; and team engagement were amongst the most significant measures of an effective CAE.

“In terms of CAEs being ‘effective’, it can ultimately be measured by important organisational risk outcomes, such as risk-informed decision making, the number of surprise risk events, recovery times after risk events and delivering a coordinated risk response,” said Tim Berichon senior director analyst in the Gartner Risk and Audit Practice. “The more personally effective a CAE is, the better those outcomes will likely look in an enterprise.

“Risk orientation was the single biggest factor driving high CAE personal effectiveness scores in our study. CAEs with high-risk orientation improved their personal effectiveness by up to 47%.”

Risk orientation results in the CAE’s audit plan aligning with top enterprise risks and audit’s risk assessment aligning with other functions. Further, audit recommendations are well-aligned to enterprise risk appetite.

“Everything internal audit does should be oriented to risk,” Berichon added. “Given the importance of risk orientation, it’s also interesting to note that effective CAEs are more likely to actively participate in enterprise risk management.”

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