Internal auditors brace for cryptocurrencies

It is only a matter of time before local firms start to deal in cryptocurrencies, says IIA Malaysia president

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By TMR File

Internal auditors are preparing to deal with cryptocurrencies as they expect more Malaysian companies to be using the digital money sooner, rather than later.

Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Malaysia president Hazimi Kassim said although local companies are not using it in general, individuals have already been using it for small business transactions.

“We have yet to move to that area, but we are anticipating that sooner or later companies will be using it.

“Hence, we are giving the training to on the background and the controls associated with it, in order to prepare our internal auditors on the mechanism and the risks,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The association, he said, is currently focused on educating the members on the disruptive technology.

During the two-day 2017 National Conference themed, “Internal Audit: Poised for the Future”, there will also be a session discussing — the bitcoin, block chain technology and block chain ecosystem, among others.

Hazimi said that the present and future internal auditors need to be tech-savvy and analytical to manage big data, as well as technological “curveballs” to stay relevant and value adding.

They are also required to equip themselves with the knowledge and new skills including business acumen, ability to connect the dots, emotional intelligence, data analytics, relationship management and communication skill.

The leading body for the internal audit profession in the country also launched the updated “Guidance for an Effective Internal Audit Function” booklet.

It aims to provide a clear and standardised direction for the Audit Committees and Boards of public listed companies and other corporations.

Meanwhile, IIA Malaysia VP Alan Chang Kong Chong said the usage of cyptocurrencies for local companies might not be accepted yet, in the present time.

“Using bitcoin has its own risk at the moment, so wait for the stand (of BNM).

“If BNM says it’s okay, then only businesses in Malaysia can adopt it as it will not be proper now,” he said.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim (picture) when queried at the International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing 2017 recently — on the possibility of banning cryptocurrencies in Malaysia — altogether did not discount the possibility, stating that it is “something that we will be deciding by the end of the year”.

The central bank said in September that it would be issuing its guidelines on cryptocurrencies by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Hazimi hopes the government will provide some incentives in the up coming Budget 2018 announcement for the non-profit organisation to be able to do more research and development as well as training for its members.

“I hope the government will be able to further provide a lot of incentives for various businesses to train their people in order for us to be able to adopt more advanced technology,” he said.