Internal auditor perceptions on audit committee interactions: a qualitative study in Malaysian public corporations
Audit committees (AC) and the internal audit function (IAF) are two key corporate governance mechanisms. The primary objective of this study is to provide insights into internal auditors' perceptions of their interactions with AC members in Malaysia. The paper thus contributes to the extant literature by providing additional evidence from a South-east Asian country which is recognised as being characterised with a high power distance culture and a developing capital market. The findings are based on in-depth interviews of the heads of the internal audit function (HIAFs) from 11 publicly listed companies. The results indicate infrequent informal communications and limited private meetings between the HIAFs and ACs, and a need for clear reporting lines. Further, ACs are seen to be held in high esteem for their authority and are expected to take on greater leadership in the inquiry of management's decision-making. These findings highlight the importance of the leadership role of ACs in supporting the IAF.