Privacy and compliance laws are significantly expanding, the need for transparency is increasing and how organizations use and share private information is evolving. All this means the role of Chief Audit Officer (CAO) is an essential one in many corporate and healthcare organizations. A CAO has several key responsibilities, including conducting a thorough examination of an organization’s business operations, recommending operational efficiencies, ensuring compliance with privacy and security laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the various state breach notification laws. And if the organization operates globally, the governance mandate of the CAO grows exponentially as the organization must comply with regional and international privacy and compliance laws.
Often it becomes the responsibility of the CAO to recommend ways the organization can improve operating efficiencies. As part of making such recommendations, the officer needs to perform risk assessments, identifying areas where the organization may be vulnerable now or in the future.
Being able to identify these vulnerabilities quickly and address them is one of several key attributes of an effective chief audit officer. Other key attributes include: