Forward planning, a clear view of the data and consistent follow-up procedures have helped the auditors at Bilfinger SE to establish the strong rapport with management they need to add real value to the business. They explain why this is the basis for future innovation.
Communication and partnership are as important as traditional audit skills to the eight internal auditors who comprise the Corporate Function – Books and Records Audit team at Bilfinger SE. They see the rapport they build with the operational functions and management throughout the business as vital to their ability to identify the key risks they face now, and will face in the future, and to help them work together to mitigate these.
“Internal auditors need communication and other soft skills if they are to establish a rapport with stakeholders at all levels – functional and organisational,” explains Brandon Wright, who heads the team. “You need these skills when gathering information and deciding which risk areas to audit if people are to be honest with you and open up so that you both gain the most from the audit experience.”
Bilfinger SE is a global industrial services provider based in Mannheim, Germany. It has a long history in engineering and now engages in projects around the world, particularly in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Its ~ 30,000 employees work with customers in sectors that include chemicals and petrochemicals, energy and utilities, oil and gas, pharma and biopharma, metallurgy and cement, so the risks they encounter are varied and significant.
Wright’s team is responsible for performing onsite risk assessments and identifying control and process weaknesses to provide assurance to senior management on the status of risks. However, he is clear that his role is also to find and share best practice globally. “We look for successes as much as for failures so we can add value to the whole organisation,” he says.