Are Engineers the Future of Auditing?

By Christian Thornton

As industries evolve, organizations incorporate more technology in to their operations and gain access to large quantities of data. This deluge of data is helping executives change the way their businesses operate and is also changing the way these organizations are audited.

For many years, auditors have played a key role in providing customer and stakeholder confidence through unbiased data testing. That role remains, however the tools available to auditors have changed dramatically. By using analytic tools, an individual auditor can review thousands of pieces of data without needing a team. The stress on certain departments associated with an army of auditors swarming into their organization is beginning to lessen. Fewer auditors are needed for data evaluation, which frees up the rest of the team to focus on other aspects, such as risk assessments. This in turn benefits the industry through the development of new safety protocols and standards.

When you combine this newfound freedom with more data, auditors can provide a higher-value analysis and could even act in consulting roles to help organizations with forward planning. As a result, the quality of the audit increases as does customer and stakeholder confidence.

So, what does this mean for auditors? Just as the audits themselves are advancing, so too will auditors. The “ideal auditor” has traditionally been someone grounded by a lengthy career with a knowledge of standards, some of which may have been developed decades ago. While a solid career will always be prized in an auditor, reasoned analysis and interpretation will be more valuable than ever. Auditors will also be expected to bring a broader range of experience and knowledge to the table. Specialization will take on more importance and auditors will need to build their skill sets. Audit teams will need to emphasize a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds to remain relevant.

So, what does this mean for engineers and technicians? Organizations will be looking for professionals with industry experience to be part of their audit teams. A higher demand will be placed on individuals who have a broad knowledge and skill set who can be called upon to help mitigate risk or drive change and progress within the sector. Being able to demonstrate this knowledge and skill will become more vital. Not only will individuals need to demonstrate an understanding of the subject matter, it will also be important to show less tangible skills. Those less tangible skills, like preferring to work alone or in group settings, reactions to stressful situations, and levels of empathy, can be hard to measure. iNARTE is developing new tools to help.

The iNARTE Engineering Behavioral Risk Assessment is one such tool to help engineers and technicians identify and demonstrate less tangible skills. The assessment shows where an individual may fall on a scale compared with others in the industry. Falling outside the established range is not a cause for concern. It simply indicates your personal traits in that area compared with a baseline established for engineers. For example, a person may naturally be more direct than empathetic. This is not a bad thing. Having that level of awareness can aid in personal development.

As technology helps companies to evolve, so too must engineers and technicians. Opportunities will present themselves for positions outside of the “normal” engineering world. Auditing is one of those roles. Now is the time to take advantage of the tools available to you and seize opportunities as they arise.

For more information on iNARTE products and tools, please email