The rapid pace of digital transformation in Saudi Arabia necessitates a technology-driven approach to internal audit.

Impact of Rapid Digital Transformation on Internal Audit Practices in the Kingdom: Key Findings from KPMG Study

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is experiencing a rapid digital transformation, with technological advancements such as artificial intelligence (AI) reshaping internal audit practices. A new study by KPMG highlights the profound impact of these changes on organizations within the Kingdom.

The report identifies key technology risks that internal auditors must address, including data privacy concerns as organizations rely more on big data, cloud computing, and AI. With the increasing threat of cyber attacks, protecting corporate and personal data has become a top priority. Additionally, regulatory compliance is crucial, with new laws requiring Saudi-owned data to be stored within the Kingdom, making internal auditors essential in ensuring adherence to these regulations.

The rise of AI and open data platforms also presents challenges to data privacy, requiring auditors to understand and mitigate these risks effectively. The fast pace of technological and business process changes demands that internal auditors stay updated on the latest developments to implement effective control measures.

Shadi Abuserryeh, Head of Financial Risk Management at KPMG, emphasized the importance of transitioning from traditional manual processes to technology-driven approaches in response to the evolving business landscape and regulatory requirements. Integrating AI-powered controls aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, where AI is projected to generate significant economic growth.

The report underscores the transformative effect of technology on internal audit practices, highlighting the benefits of automation and collaboration between internal audit, IT, and risk management units. Continuous development of technical skills among internal auditors is crucial to address emerging technology risks and leverage AI-powered solutions effectively.

Despite the challenges, Abuserryeh emphasized the need for internal audit functions to evolve and adopt innovative tools and strategies to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities. Continuous monitoring and real-time data analysis, enabled by advancements in AI and machine learning, can provide valuable insights for organizational success.

Looking ahead, the report emphasizes the importance of internal auditors embracing technology and adapting to the dynamic business environment. By leveraging mature IT infrastructures, robust governance frameworks, and advanced tools like data analytics, internal auditors can play a critical role in ensuring organizational success in the digital age.