The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) recently recognized Shruthi Ramakrishnan as one of the profession’s 2020 Emerging Leaders in its October 2020 issue.
“This is a wonderful accomplishment and honor for Shruthi and the team,” said Charles (Chuck) Windeknecht, Vice President, Internal Audit Department.
“I was very excited when Chuck approached me about his plans to nominate me,” said Shruthi. “And then, of course, I was thrilled when the IIA confirmed I would be included in this year’s class of Emerging Leaders. This kind of recognition is the culmination of years of hard work. I am grateful to my mentors who have helped me evolve my thinking throughout my career. I am better today because of their support.”
Shruthi majored in financial accounting and auditing at Mumbai University and initially chose a career in external auditing. Her first job was with PwC, in Mumbai.
As Shruthi told IIA, “My first exposure to internal audit was at my client companies and networking events. I began to realize that internal auditors had a broad knowledge of the entity’s business and its operating environment.”
When Shruthi moved to the United States and began the process of obtaining her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license, she felt even more strongly about pursuing internal audit as a career. In March 2018, she joined Atlas Air as an internal auditor.
“We [internal auditors] are treated as business partners,” she explained. “Our recommendations make a positive impact on the organization.” She also noted that internal auditors are constantly challenged to upgrade their technological skills to stay relevant — and to be of more value to the organization.
“Today’s dynamic and changing environment requires internal audit to pivot and adapt,” Shruthi said.
“Shruthi understands the relationship of key risks, systems, processes, and controls,” said Chuck.
She also emphasizes data analytics. In one particular project, she instituted tests on full populations that focus on high-risk areas rather than relying on sample-based testing.
Chuck added, “Her team provided management a level of fraud risk assurance that was not previously attainable through traditional testing approaches.”
Data, Shruthi believes, is “the new oil for businesses,” so internal audit functions must make the most of it. “I believe using it should be one of the priorities to build a next-gen internal audit function,” she said.
This forward-thinking approach is why Shruthi enjoys Atlas so much. “Every project in Internal Audit here at Atlas is unique and offers an opportunity to try to apply new tools. I am so lucky that my job applies to such a wide range of departments and enables me to speak to so many different colleagues throughout the Company. Every day I look forward to something new, challenging and different.”
Beyond her audit work, Shruthi supports Junior Achievement and mentors new team members. She’s also passionate about arts, particularly Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance and painting.