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Head of Audit and Risk

About the role


Job Purpose:

The Head of Audit and Risk plays a crucial role by providing an independent, objective assessment of the company’s operations and helps accomplish company objectives through a systematic, disciplined approach to risk management, control and governance processes. The Head of Audit and Risk is responsible to provide the Risk & Audit Committee, the management, and other stakeholders with risk based, objective and reliable assurance, advisory services and insights on controls, risk management and governance matters using leading practices supported by appropriate technology.
As the Head of Audit and Risk, this position will be responsible for establishing the Internal Audit vision, and functions as the chief business advisory and risk person in the company. This position is specifically responsible for supporting the accomplishment of strategic objectives and helping ensure that established financial, operational and compliance practices, and the related controls, are designed and operating effectively. Based in Dubai, this role is responsible for leading the development and implementation of GEMS Internal Audit strategic long-term goals, policies and procedures and annual plans in order to ensure high quality service and alignment to professional standards of internal control, risk assessment and implementation of audit practices.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Manage the formulation and implementation of GEMS’ Internal Audit’s strategic long term goals, policies and procedures, and monitor annual and longer term audit plans, schedules and budgets to ensure compliance with standards set and all relevant legislative, regulatory and license requirements in conjunction with Strategic Planning team.
  • Identify areas of Routine and Special Audits in order to develop the Annual Audit Plan to ensure effective and comprehensive audit review of the compliance and adequacy of internal controls relating to all policies, procedures, financial regulations, transactions and authorities, operational procedures and information systems.
  • Formulate audit procedures, methodologies and plans to reflect the best acceptable standards and communicate them to the management on a need to know basis.
  • Develop the Internal Audit programs for schools and non-school units for the systematic coverage of all high risk areas with a view to ensuring all resources are efficiently deployed to execute the approved Internal Audit Annual Plan and fulfil the audit objectives in financial, operational and information system areas of audit. Direct, guide and monitor the efficient conduct of all Audit Assignments.
  • Prepare and submit Audit Reports for each assignment after discussion with the management to ensure that relevant material and key observations are included and areas of audit concern are highlighted, with appropriate suggestions and recommendations for improvement and rectification.
  • Review the internal systems, procedures, processes and controls to detect areas of operational deficiency, and make appropriate recommendations for improving operational efficiency and enhancing internal controls. Initiate general performance review checks at group and departmental levels, as considered necessary.
  • Review the risks associated with corporate office and the various business units and company as a whole; and provide an assessment of the potential exposures.
  • Carry out special audit assignments as directed by the Risk & Audit Committee or Board or Leadership as identified on the basis of high risk, in any area needing special investigation of suspected fraud, loss of company property or any other suspected transgression of company policies. Develop guidelines and procedures for responding to unusual actions or criminal incidents.
  • Maintain clear audit trails of all audit plans, observations, actions, recommendations and implementation of recommendations through a system of reports and records.
  • Define organisation structure for the Internal Audit department so that resources are optimally utilized and communication can take place in an efficient manner.
  • Ensure the effective achievement of Internal Audit functional objectives through the leadership of the Internal Audit department – setting individual objectives, managing performance, developing and motivating staff, provision of formal and informal feedback and appraisal – in order to maximize subordinate and departmental performance

Qualifications, Experience and Skills

  • Professional certification, such as a CA, ACCA, CPA and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
  • 10+ years of exposure to internal audit, governance, risk management, compliance, financial management with large scale businesses including Big 4 accounting firms
  • Experience in health and safety audits
  • Experience in the education industry will be an advantage
  • Multi-regional experience is a plus
  • Experience in a management role, leading a department
  • Experience leading and managing large scale initiatives and managing associated change
  • Interpersonal skills, including the ability to explain complex topics to audiences
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