Perceptions of Singaporean Internal Audit Customers Regarding the Role and Effectiveness of Internal Audit

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Cassandra S. L. Yee
Ahmad Sujan
Kieran James
Jenny K. S. Leung


In recent times, the “dominant paradigm†of internal auditing as attest function has been largely supplanted by the “business partner†model. We interview a purposeful sample of Singaporean senior,middle and junior managers to assess their perceptions about both the role and effectiveness of internal audit. We utilized structured interviews with 83 Singaporean senior, middle and junior managers who are internal audit customers from 25 organizations. Unlike in
Saudi Arabia (Al-Twaijry et al., 2003), the traditional attest function of classical internal auditing seems to have been largely supplanted as the dominant paradigm for internal auditing in Singapore. In addition, our results suggest that both Singaporean senior and junior managers appreciate internal auditors that serve in the business partner role. By contrast, mid-level managers often regard internal auditing activities negatively and in terms of “watchdog†activities.
This paper further expands and develops the literature on the role and effectiveness of internal auditing from the perspective of internal audit customers. Senior, middle and junior managers are important groups of customers. Our theoretical framework utilizing Marxist economic theory is a first in the IA literature. We also present a research agenda for further work with implications for developing country researchers.

Keywords: Business Partner Model, Classical Internal Audit, Managerial Class, Marxist Economic Theory, Modern Internal Audit, Singapore.
JEL: Classification: B14, M41, M42, P30,P



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