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Gartner Survey: Risk Orientation is Critical to Chief Audit Executive Effectiveness

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Chief audit executives have identified risk orientation, stakeholder management and team leadership as the three biggest characteristics of effective audit executives, according to a new Gartner survey.

The survey of 114 chief audit executives (CAEs), which was conducted in the spring, sought to quantify executive effectiveness across 180 areas to determine the most important traits. The six biggest include management satisfaction; CAE and audit department performance; perception of the CAE; audit engagement quality; CAE impact; and team engagement.

“Risk orientation was the single biggest factor driving high CAE personal effectiveness scores in our study,” said Tim Berichon, a senior Gartner analyst. “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 said. “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 (ERM).”

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