There’s more to internal auditing than you thought, by Sally Clark, Chief Internal Auditor

There's more to internal auditing than you thought

By Sally Clark, Chief Internal Auditor

Barclays Internal Audit is a great work environment that embraces change, encourages new thinking, and constantly looks to deliver quality work through high calibre people. My time here has not only been fantastic for my career, but also gives me a sense of satisfaction on a personal level.

I’ve been an internal auditor since 1986. When I started, I had no relevant qualifications having studied English at university. Back then, it was all about learning on the job from colleagues, whether that was about the products we audited, the practice of auditing, or how to manage teams. After over 20 years in the field within financial institutions, I made the move to Barclays Internal Audit as Chief of Staff in 2012, and have since progressed to become Chief Internal Auditor.

I have gained various qualifications during my career including an MBA through Warwick Business School and a qualification in Executive Coaching. Both qualifications have been useful in providing a foundation for management and leadership. After joining Barclays I investigated how to become qualified through the Institute of Internal Auditors. I am now a CMIIA (Chartered Member of the Institute of Internal Auditors) and have an international QIAL (Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership). So, from having no qualifications in auditing, I now have a few. I have encouraged all of my Management Team to do the same.

There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. I get through a wide variety of things on any given day - reviewing audit reports, talking to audit stakeholders, preparing papers for board committees, and catching up with colleagues and members of my Management Team. I also attend our training academy, am on the Board of the Institute of Internal Auditors, and sponsor the Emerge Network — the Barclays network for people early on in their careers at the bank.

Through the Emerge Network, I also have reverse mentors — two young men starting out in their careers who give me their views on what they think about their roles at Barclays, what they are up to, and what we should be thinking about. We have 4,000 people who have recently started their careers in Barclays, so it’s helpful to get their feedback and advice about social and ethical causes whilst making sure that we are doing enough around these issues. Dynamic working is another topic that they advise us on because the traditional ways of working are changing.

It’s great to be involved in all these extra activities but many of my highlights at Barclays have been within the remit of the audit function. We have been involved in supporting management to change the risk and control environment in the firm for example. We completed this work on culture through the use of our Management Control Approach Rating tool which measures the extent of management's approach to managing risk and control. I am also very proud of our focus on learning and development - whether it is technical audit training, product related training, or leadership and management training - our new joiners get a chance to experience all of this.

The advice that I would give to a new starter within my field is that you don’t necessarily need experience. I’d also remind people that we’re not just bean counters or people in grey suits. We have a great opportunity to think enterprise wide and we have opportunities for our junior people to make a big impact through the work they do. I want to open people’s minds about internal auditing and to get them to find out more about what we do. There are lots of opportunities for internal colleagues to try us out - we have a guest auditor programme and secondment opportunities for example. There are also various entry levels for people from outside the firm - whether as apprentices, graduates or experienced auditors.

Barclays Internal Audit team is expanding globally across all functional areas and all levels. Please click here to view and submit your application for our current vacancies.