Chief Internal Auditor

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THE ORGANIZATION

Athabasca University was North America’s first online university. Its open and flexible environment is built on leveraging technology to enable learning. Athabasca University, Canada’s Open University, is dedicated to the removal of barriers that restrict access to and success in university-level study and to increasing equality of educational opportunity for adult learners worldwide.  As Canada’s only digital learning university, created by Alberta innovators, Athabasca University’s classrooms, collaboration spaces, and student hubs are not bricks and mortar, but Cloud & Code.

Like the river with which it shares a name and a surging spirit, Athabasca University, Canada’s Open University erodes obstacles. It dismantles the barrier between the student and their ambition — their best future. Some of Canada’s finest professors and leaders choose Athabasca University for the same reason students’ study with them. Athabasca is for the leader who wants to build their community without leaving it. It is for the learner who could study on any campus or maybe already does but craves flexibility and control of their time.

Athabasca University provides learning for life. Through the achievements of its students, faculty and staff, AU stands out as a provider of high quality post-secondary education.

  • AU serves over 40,000 students (over 7,800 full-load equivalents).
  • AU offers over 850 courses in more than 55 undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of arts, science and professional disciplines.
  • AU has a $160 million annual operating budget.
  • AU employs over 1,000 faculty and staff members on four Alberta, Canada, campuses located in Athabasca, St. Albert, Edmonton and Calgary.
  • AU maintains over 350 collaborative agreements with other Canadian and international post-secondary institutions, with professional associations and employer groups and with First Nations institutions and communities.

AU ‘s IMAGINE Strategic Plan

Athabasca University’s 5-year strategic plan “Imagine” is in year two of operation. It is focused around 4 key strategic themes and 5 key values at their foundation:

Moving Beyond Place: Transforming communities through belonging and relationships.

Moving Beyond Open: Bridging open and inclusion.

Moving Beyond the Now: Supporting transformative and incremental change through agility and adaptability.

Moving Beyond the Norm: Adopting innovative ideas, taking calculated risks.

 

 

AU’s “I-Care” Values

Integrity:  We are guided by ethics, honesty, and fairness in all our actions, engendering trust within our University community.

Community:  We are one University. We achieve more together. We embrace collaboration and connectivity among our diverse individual community members and teams.

Adaptability: We are flexible.  We respond to the changing needs of our University and its learners with courage and continuous improvement.

Respect:  We foster respect by contributing to an environment in which every individual is valued.

Excellence:  We ask bold questions, provoke new ways of thinking, and focus on those things at which we can excel to enhance the quality of all that we do.

For further information on Athabasca University, please visit their website at www.athabascau.ca.

THE OPPORTUNITY

Reporting administratively to the Vice President, Finance and Administration & CFO, and functionally to the Board of Governors through the Audit Committee, the Chief Internal Auditor is responsible for the development and management of a broad, comprehensive program of internal audit at Athabasca University.

The Chief Internal Auditor (CIA) provides independent, objective assurance, advisory, and investigative services to assist Athabasca University management and the Board of Governors in the effective discharge of their responsibilities. In support of the University’s overall mission, this critical role will assist the University to accomplish its goals and objectives through a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluating and improving risk management, control, compliance, and governance processes.

The CIA directs the daily operations of the Internal Audit Office, including performing financial, compliance, operational audits, and investigative audits in accordance with the Institute of Internal Auditor’s (IIA) International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.

This position performs all aspects of the audit process, including planning, fieldwork, reporting and follow up as well as providing recommendations for improving accountability, performance, and efficiency of operations. The incumbent provides independent objective advice, assurance, and consultation designed to improve operations and internal controls.
 

RESPONSIBILITIES

Internal Audit (Assurance) (90%)

  • Leading the development of the annual audit plan, using appropriate risk-based methodology, including, but not limited to, any risks or control concerns identified by the Audit Committee and/or management, and submitting that plan to the Board of Governors for review and approval.
  • Accountable for the implementation of the annual audit plan, as approved, including, and as appropriate, any special tasks or projects requested by management and the Audit Committee.
  • Performing advisory services related to governance, risk management, and control as appropriate for the organization and with the approval of the Audit Committee.
  • Accountable for providing complete and timely information on audit activities to the Board Audit Chair/Committee. Keeping the Audit Committee informed of emerging trends and successful practices in internal auditing.
  • Evaluating and assessing significant new or changing services, processes, operations, and control processes coincident with their development, implementation, and/or expansion.
  • Reviewing procedures and records for their adequacy to accomplish intended objectives, and appraising policies and plans relating to the activity or function under audit review.
  • Recommending improvements in the internal control environment design to safeguard University resources, promote University growth, and ensure compliance with government laws and regulations.
  • Regular reporting to the Audit Committee and management summarizing results of audit activities, including recommendations for improvement.
  • Following up with management and reports to the Audit Committee on recommendations, including those issued by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), until there has been a satisfactory resolution of the matter to consider it as being adequately addressed.
  • Conducting periodic follow-up audits to evaluate the adequacy of management’s implementation of Internal Audit recommendations.
  • Coordinating audit work with the Office of the Auditor General, and other audit groups as appropriate.

Fraud and Financial Irregularity Investigations (10%)

  • Serving as the Designated Officer, appointed by the President of the University, to investigate Protected Disclosures of wrongdoing made in good faith to the University as outlined in the Protected Disclosure (Whistleblower) Policy and the related procedure.
  • Accountable for providing complete and timely information on suspected cases of fraud or financial irregularity the Board Audit Chair/Committee.
  • Coordinating the investigation of suspected fraud and financial irregularities or other wrongdoings within the University.
  • Approves and issues special reports to the Audit Committee and management summarizing results of investigations into suspected incidents of fraud or financial irregularity, including recommendations for improvement.

FIRST YEAR – MEASURES OF SUCCESS

  • Develop internal audit practices, standards and processes adding sophistication to the current internal systems;
  • Create proactive, forward-looking audit practices vs. reactive, “after the fact” audits;
  • Execute on the internal audit plan that is currently under approval with the Audit committee;
  • Be able to operate at a strategic level with the commitment to “roll up your sleeves” and do the work; bringing in external contractors for assistance on an “as needed” basis only;
  • Manage approximately 4-6 projects (not limited to this) annually;
  • Review the potential for becoming a vendor for internal audit practices for smaller and/or other colleges in the market.

 

THE INDIVIDUAL

Given the pivotal role this individual will be expected to play in achieving the strategic and operational objectives of the Chief Internal Auditor, and in supporting the success of the organization, it is essential that the successful candidate possess the following education, qualifications & experience, and competencies:

Education:

  • Post secondary under-graduate degree in management, business administration, accounting or a related field;
  • Master’s degree in business administration (MBA) preferred;
  • Certified Professional Accounting (CPA) designation and/or a professional audit designation (CIA, CISA or CGAP) required.

 

Qualifications & Experience

  • A minimum of 10 years experience within internal audit with a minimum of 5 years in a leadership/directing role in a large and diverse organization;
  • Experience in a public/government sector and/or within a post – secondary institution environment is preferred;
  • Must be a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and have considerable working knowledge and experience with IIA professional standards;
  • Preference will be given to individuals that have experience in setting up internal audit departments;
  • Demonstrated ability to assess risks, recommend financial controls and implement broad strategies for a successful audit program is required; 
  • Project management or audit experience related to financial information system audits and experience managing a team is also required;
  • Significant experience in audit management and demonstrated experience using the internal audit function as an organizational enabler;
  • Excellent computer skills including knowledge of Microsoft Office, e-mail, website navigation, and report writing tools are required.

Competencies

  • A strategic and progressive approach to provide value-added audit services across the organization;
  • Understanding of risk and control principles with experience in audit techniques, including identification of key risks, evaluation of internal controls, process mapping, process improvement, root cause analysis, sampling, testing of controls;
  • Ability to establish priorities and plan, conduct and deliver effective assurance and consulting engagements;
  • Ability to gain an understanding of complex areas in a relatively short period of time to collect, analyze and organize information, establish facts and make pragmatic, value-added recommendations; 
  • Strong collaboration, negotiation, and teamwork skills to obtain acceptance of audit objectives, control criteria/standards and audit recommendations;
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to present audit results and recommendations to management and staff as well as prepare clear, well-written audit reports;
  • Good computer skills on MS Office, accounting software and databases;
  • High attention to detail and excellent analytical skills;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team; and
  • Strong ethical standards, high levels of integrity and demonstrate sound judgement;
  • Maintenance of confidentiality at all times is essential.

Compensation

An excellent compensation package awaits the successful candidate.

Location

Location is flexible with the candidate’s ability to travel as needed.

How to Apply

For the opportunity to join Athabasca University in the role of the Chief Internal Auditor, please email your resume to tdavis@profoundtalent.com, referencing Position ID # AJWM-646680.

Should you have an inquiry regarding this position, please contact Terri Davis at 587-200-0114 ext. 101.   For further information on ProFound Talent Inc. please visit the following:

Website: www.profoundtalent.com

You Tube Username: ProFound Talent Inc.

Podcasts on iTunes: ProFound Talks with Terri

 

* We thank all applicants for your submissions; however, only candidates being considered for this role will be contacted. *