Internal Audit's Value Adding

Camilla Hansen & Helene Jentoft Fogh

Student thesis: Master thesis


IIA’s definition of internal audit states that it is designed to add value through its independence of the organization, objective assurance and consulting activities. The internal audit helps the organization achieve its objectives and evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance by having a systematic and disciplined approach. In Denmark, there is a legal requirement for financial organizations to establish an internal audit, but not for non-financial organizations. There is a lack of research within the area of internal audit’s added value in a Danish context. This thesis aims to elaborate on this. To understand how internal auditors perceive value creation, we interviewed 16 Danish internal auditors from different organizations, and a literature review was done. 6 of the 16 informants are from the financial industry, and the remaining 10 are from non-financial industries. This thesis examines whether and how internal audit in the financial and non-financial industries can add value to their organizations. The study finds that all informants agree that to create value, the internal audit must provide relevant services. A common theme among the informants is that the internal audit creates value when it focuses on operational audit, including assurance for governance, risk management and internal control. Furthermore, the internal audit’s communication and relation with its stakeholders, along with its objectivity, independence and insight, impact the ability to provide relevant and valuable services. Internal auditors should seek to become trusted advisors because it is beneficial for the creation of value. The study results suggest that non-financial organizations are more focused on advisory services than financial organizations and indicates a correlation between this type of services and creating value. The financial organizations share similarities regarding how their internal audit creates value. In contrast, non-financial organizations have more varied responses. This difference may be caused by the fact that the non-financial organizations belong to different industries.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages123