NOVA Merchant Bank hosts the 52nd QQM of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks

NOVA Merchant Bank hosts the 52nd QQM of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks
NOVA Merchant Bank hosts the 52nd QQM of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks

The 52nd Quarterly General Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Officers of Banks in Nigeria was held in Lagos.

The meeting, which had as its theme: “The future of internal auditing in an increasingly digital world”, was held on Thursday.

It brought together auditors and other banking industry stakeholders, including law enforcement officials, to deepen discussions on the need to create more innovative processes and formulate automation for internal auditors to succeed in the ever-evolving technology landscape.

The event was organized by NOVA Merchant Bank Limited.

In his speech, NOVA Merchant Bank Limited’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nath Ude, stated that the bank remains fully committed to supporting initiatives aimed at facilitating business solutions and promoting digitization.

On working with technology, he stated that the resulting adaptations and innovations that occurred in 2020 led to the execution of a high volume of Internet- and technology-based activities and operations, including the golden style of “work from home” business operations that continued in 2021.

He noted that as large numbers of people around the world embraced remote operations, the digital presence of individuals and businesses grew astronomically, from daily communications on social media platforms to official meetings on Zoom, Teams and other platforms. of virtual meetings. to electronic payments through online banking and mobile applications, to cloud computing and storage, to remote management and review of numerous tasks and operations using streaming video and other audiovisual tools.

He added that these new ways of working with technology and through technology have become the order of the day and now in 2022 we are living in a new normality of hybridization: a fusion of the innovations, learnings and achievements caused by the pandemic, with the old forms of physical operations, in person, which continues to evolve.

Ude also stated that the new normal we find ourselves in today shows a continued integration of digitization into our daily lives and, by extension, into our business operations.

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He noted that as financial institutions, the rise of fintech companies is not a new issue, adding, “We now have banks acquiring FINTECH, FINTECH acquiring banking licenses, and banks creating FINTECH arms.”

He said that Nigeria has now moved towards telecommunications entities that provide banking services to its customers: MTN and Airtel have received payment service bank (PSB) licenses from the Central Bank of Nigeria, where deposit-taking, cross-border payments, operations of electronic wallet and Debit/prepaid cards can be offered to customers.

Ude emphasized that digitization has brought a completely new approach to how people live their daily lives and conduct business.

He said: “The future is coming, some would say it is already here.

“Let’s project a bit into the future: millennials, also known as Generation Y, are generally those between 26 and 41 years old (born between 1981 and 1996) are the working age that we have today; Generation Z are generally those ages 10 to 25 (born between 1997 and 2012) who are of working age and will soon be of working age.

He said as companies adapt to bring services, faster and more conveniently to current, potential and future customers, the risks and controls needed to manage those risks cannot be overstated.

Ude said: “Just as banking evolved from having your bank account accessible from a specific branch of a specific bank located in a specific location, to where we now have access to borderless banking from an app on a phone in our pocket; the risks have evolved from protecting the bank branch to protecting our banks’ Internet connection points, cloud storage and intranet connections, all words and concepts that would have been foreign just 40 years ago.”

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Speaking about the evolution of regulatory requirements, he said: “We cannot overlook the regulatory angle of further digitalisation.

“Regulatory frameworks, by necessity, will continue to evolve to establish controls around the operation and reporting of new technologies adopted by banks.

“From the use of bank checks to the use of money transfer forms; from the use of ATMs to the use of Internet banking and POS machines; from unstructured ancillary services data codes and mobile money apps to the use of rapid response codes, regulations have evolved to protect customers and banks from exploitation, abuse and misuse.”

On auditing in a digital age, Ude said, “The tools, knowledge and skills of internal auditors must evolve with the changing times.

“The tools used to conduct audits; knowledge (terms, terminologies, applications, options, uses) of digital platforms, points of sale, services; and skills (comfort with basic computer applications and information technology audit software, development of information systems audit skills, (re)learning) must increase to cope with changes in the industry.”

Speaking about today’s digital reality, Ude said: “Technological advancement in hardware and software applications has brought about automations that continually reduce the need for human interference in processes and, by default, human interference in auditing those processes. ; especially where the applications are intelligent systems that learn and evolve based on their learnings, more commonly known as Artificial Intelligence.

“We have robots that respond to customer queries on websites and mobile apps, we have cookies that record and report on the web pages visited by website users, we have algorithms that report on how often clicks were an item, how long a page was open, and whether a transaction was concluded on shopping sites, streaming services, social networking sites, etc.

“We can talk to our phones and other devices, and they respond to our query.

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“Virtual reality systems are growing in the real world: once primarily focused or used by gamers, we now have the metaverse where an entire ecosystem can be created for people to live digital lives, where meetings can be held in virtual spaces. simulated virtual reality. by people in different parts of the world, each fully seated at a desk or in a boardroom with a presentation delivered by a facilitator in a virtual office with attendees using avatars of their choice.”

In conclusion, Ude pointed out that in the past auditors used paper and the infamous green pen auditors and their tools continue to evolve to meet or get ahead of the technologies used by businesses.

He stated that a new generation of internal auditors will be needed to move the organization forward in the digital world.

He said that companies need to recognize and support this, as our auditors are a vital part of our workforce: the trainings, the sessions, the seminars, the knowledge sharing, the meetings and all the other avenues in which the New technologies must be supported by audit team members and continuous learning to stay ahead or at least in sync with changes.

He noted that the journey has already begun, the digital role of audit in each organization must be defined, the mindset and aspirations of internal auditors must be assessed, and any obstacles to achieving digital auditors must be identified and addressed by each organization.

He added that regular updating, trainings, attendance at seminars and knowledge-sharing sessions, ongoing engagements with groups such as the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria, security agencies, and ongoing interactions with regulators, they would serve to keep auditors abreast of new technologies, audit approaches, and guidelines and regulations affecting new and emerging technologies.