Chairman’s Message, July 22, 2009

As summer approached, there were signs that the economy is heading in the right direction. The Dow was up for the year, consumer confidence was showing signs of returning, and, although the economy was shedding jobs, the rate of job losses had slowed. From the feedback we received at our Financial Services Conference in June, the demand for skilled and experienced internal auditors remains strong. Internal auditors, it appears, have weathered the storm well and — in some cases — have even thrived.

Many thanks to those of you who attended the Financial Services Conference held at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld. Thanks also to the speakers and presenters for their time, efforts, and great presentations. As expected, the number of attendees was down from previous years, but we did well relative to some other conferences. For those of you who missed the conference, we had outstanding general sessions starting off with author Ed Robinson, who reminded us to keep being “rainmakers” in our industry. We had two outstanding panel discussions regarding the current state of internal auditing and what the future might hold for us. The primary message I took away from those discussions was that internal auditing’s stock continues to rise in our organizations as more and more emphasis is placed on sound governance and controls. Internal auditing needs to be ready to step up to the plate to assist the audit committee in its increasingly important work and, of course, a theme that never seems to go away is that we need to do more with less! Also, internal auditing is going to be subject to much more scrutiny in the future as the audit committee and regulators place increasing reliance on internal auditing’s work as a major component of the governance of the organization. As someone who has been an internal auditor for more years than I care to admit, I couldn’t help but think how far we have come since I started my career in the profession. It’s great to see such progress!

Our conference closed with an entertaining presentation by well-known columnist, TV personality, and financial planner Terry Savage. Terry concentrated her remarks on our personal finances and the effects the recent economic events have had on them. I found Terry’s presentation informational, humorous, and thought-provoking all at the same time.

Stay tuned to FSA Times for information regarding the next Financial Services Conference in 2010. Your Board will be working with The IIA to consider some changes to the conference that have become necessary due to the economics and logistics of organizing an event with increased costs and smaller audiences. I will keep you posted on our deliberations. As always, your feedback and comments are welcomed.

Warm regards,
Scott White, CIA, CFSA
Financial Services Advisory Board Chairman