Internal audit is an independent appraisal function set up by the management of an entity for the inspection of the internal control system as a ministry to the entity. It objectively investigates, assesses and reports on the sufficiency of internal control as a dedication to the appropriate, economic and effective utilize of resources. Besides, internal audit is a management responsibility as to retain the internal control system and to assure that the entity's resources are appropriately made used in the manner and on the activities planned. It also includes the responsibility of the internal auditor for the prevention and detection of fraud and other illegal acts. In Malaysia, internal audits are governed by The Institute of Internal Auditors Malaysia (IIA Malaysia), and complied with International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF).
The summary assesses that the effort of the Institute of Internal Auditor Malaysia (IIA Malaysia) in improving the professional status of both the discipline of internal auditing and the IIA itself. Over the last half-century, the IIA Malaysia has already put a lot of efforts in raising professionalization of internal auditing. The IIA has set up the paraphernalia of a formal professional framework. However, several factors have been arising to block the IIA's professional "project". The most significant of the factor is the absence of monopolistic to dominate the discipline. The IIA Malaysia confront two options in the future. First, it may wish to continue further along the way of establishing a formal professional framework. Alternatively, the IIA in its modern form may be ideally placed for a new, post-professional world from the traditional, antiquated professional institutions which that seems ill equipped in Malaysia.
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What is a profession? Macdonald (1995, p. 1) offers a useful working definition of professions as "occupations based on advanced, or complex, or esoteric, or arcane, knowledge". The definition definitely determined knowledge as a fundamental composition in professionalism. However, knowledge alone is an inadequate of the definition of professionalism. It lacks a social legitimacy since it has absence of an institutional framework and an acceptable ethical basis. The social legitimacy of a profession thus has to be derived from the manner that a knowledge base is institutionalized and ethically framed. In summary, a profession is defined as an occupation based on advanced, complex, or esoteric knowledge, and then attached by a social legitimacy deriving from both an institutional framework and a credible ethical basis.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to the advancement and development of the internal audit profession. The mission of the Institute of Internal Auditors is to stipulate a "dynamic leadership" for the global profession of internal auditing such as to advocate and promote the value so that internal audit professionals can to add to their organizations, provide the comprehensive professional education and development opportunities, standards and other professional practice guidance and certification programs, and even research, disseminate, and promote to the practitioners and stakeholders knowledge concerning internal auditing and its appropriate role in control, risk management, and governance. Furthermore, IIA also has putting more efforts on to educate the practitioners and other relevant audiences on best practices in internal auditing, and even to bring together internal auditors from all countries to share information and experiences. In addition, there are some certificates are offered by the IIA. The Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is the primary professional designation offered by the IIA for internal auditors and is a standard by which individuals may demonstrate their competency and professionalism in the internal audit field. While the other certificates offered by the IIA includes Certification in Control Self Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) for government performance auditing and government auditors, Certified Financial Service Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA).
Sawyer and Vinten recommend that there are some issues about the evaluation of internal auditors as true professionals including the internal auditor in Malaysia. Degrees and certification may not do it. After all, only doctors can write prescriptions. Only attorneys can submit legal briefs. Only certified public accountants can certify to financial statements, but anyone can sign an internal audit report (Sawyer and Vinten, 1996, p.34). In Malaysia, there is undoubtedly that is why the IIA Malaysia has to try to put a lot of their efforts in raising the professionalization of internal auditing. In improving the professional status for internal auditing in Malaysia, the IIA has built up three elements of a proto-professional framework which is consisting with the definition of a profession: an autonomous expertise, an institutional framework and a public service ethos.
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From the first proto-framework of an autonomous expertise, it meant that the IIA should have to determine a credible knowledge basis as a requirement in the meaning of a profession. An intellectually strong in knowledge of internal auditing is significant because it is a recurring subject in the discipline's literature (Albrecht et al.,1992; Chambers, 1998). Besides that, in order to support and formalizes a profession in its theoretical basis, the institutional framework has to transmit the certification, a sophisticated literature which is including serials, research activities and written standards. An assumption is made to the presence of a professional knowledge to a party that can be instructed and examined by through the examinations and certification. While research activities to be carried out and investigated by the IIA as an attempt to increase the professional status in Malaysia, and a developed literature recommends that there is an adequately related body of knowledge to be conveyed to a broad audience. In addition, the third proto-framework provides that a public service ethos should to be reflected in a code of ethics. An ethical basis is very important for a profession, and the IIA's expectation to professional status have thus to be certainly involved in an ethical considerations. The Code of Ethics of IIA have established the standards of conduct, which is a try to request the institutional moral authority to the IIA and for internal auditing in Malaysia.
However, it is still not enough in enhancing and developing the professional status of internal auditing from the production of a proto-professional framework alone by the IIA in Malaysia. It is also should be supported by the international corporate governance initiatives as to aid in advocating the significance of internal auditing; the IIA has made a stronger stand for the authoritative status for IIA itself and the exercise of internal auditing.
Although tangible advancement in all these areas has been considerable, a number of factors still have been arising and in fact to restrain the professional "project" which is the one that the IIA is wishing to carry out in Malaysia. There are five sources of weaknesses are proposed in professional status of internal auditing: symbolism and mythology, short term tenure, established title, ethical compromise and, exclusivity which is the most serious to the professional status of internal auditing.
Symbolism and mythology can build a sense of mystery and aloofness essential to the social legitimacy of a profession. However, the IIA and internal auditing in Malaysia are faint in the area of symbolism and mythology, and there is no clear image to the internal auditors that determines that they are a professional. Meanwhile, there is no any symbolic image can be compared with the internal auditing in Malaysia. While the second potential weakness is about the position of internal auditor can be little more than a short-lived position on the way to the tasks of other parts of the firm (Sawyer and Vinten, 1996, p.33). Maybe there is after one to two years in involving in internal auditing, that person may starts to feel bored and is expected to move on to another part. The short term tenure in internal auditing status will may to corrode the professional status of internal auditing in Malaysia by downgrading the inherent value of the discipline as an encouraging and credible career. Next, in the matter of established title for the internal auditing, there is a considerable discuss over the adequate title for the internal auditor in Malaysia. For instance, some of them are proposing titles of internal auditor as a "control assurance consultant" or "business process consultant" (Ennis, 1998, p.12). The lack of perspicuity over the professional assignation is a potential weakness in setting up the professional legitimacy in internal auditing. Furthermore, in the late twentieth century, the use of internal auditing to sustain the heartless cost cutting extend combine with the new public management (NPM) could be a potential weak point in the discipline's ethical status. The combination of NPM with a rather hard-nosed management should potential harm to the ethical standing of internal auditing in Malaysia.
All of the weaknesses above are all potential restriction to the development of the professional status of internal auditing in Malaysia. However, exclusivity is the significant factor to the professional project, and this may be the most considerable restricting factor to the professionalization of the discipline (Macdonald, 1995, p.184). The IIA Malaysia does not have restrained or monopolistic control over some regions such as the qualification of internal auditors and meaning of internal auditing. Hence, the internal auditors in Malaysia cannot enjoy the monopolistic privilege and there is no a clearly defined jurisdiction of activity arise to be the most significant inhibitions on the professional "project" carried out by the IIA Malaysia.
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In a conclusion, the IIA Malaysia still has not yet achieved a "regulative bargain" with a situation to receive a jurisdiction within which it can establish the terms of reference (Macdonald, 1995, p.187). In the absence of monopolistic or quasi-monopolistic rights, accountants and others party are freely travel into the internal auditing field and the IIA Malaysia finds itself in competing with different sources of power. However, the IIA Malaysia may still improve its professional internal auditing status by forging powerful links with other professional entities and also by keeping on its impressive and prestigious publication projects, which is an area to the enterprise has already outstanding itself as an essential source of power in internal auditing in Malaysia. In addition, traditional professional institutions in Malaysia increasingly arise antiquated in a post-modern world characterized by portfolio careers and multi-disciplinary functions. The IIA Malaysia in its present form could be proper positioned to flourish in this new, "post-professional" environment.