ICAEW’s AuditFutures programme took the leadership to create a deliberative space through which young professionals could think differently and reflect on their motivations, meaning and purpose of their work and professional roles.
The first “Time to Think” session hosted junior auditors from Baldwins, CLB Coopers, EY, Grant Thornton, Kingston Smith, KPMG, RSM and Wilkins Kennedy. The forum sought to engage individuals in a reflective discussions by bringing philosophical thinking tools to think carefully about – “What should the purpose of audit be today?” and “How should we understand the role of the profession today?”
The idea behind the Forum was to recreate the purpose and experience of the Roman Forum or the ancient Greek Agora (market place or open place of assembly) where people came to together to trade and to also discuss politics and interrogate their own thinking. We have forgotten that the best ideas were born as part the Agora, such as democracy and scientific theory. The best ideas of our modern world are happening as a process of collaborative and cross-disciplinary inquiry… and so we wanted to bring this philosophical framework in thinking about the future of audit. Ultimately, to progress as a society and as humans, we need to ask the question Why, not just What and How we do things.
Similarly, by hosting a ‘community of practice’ we aimed to encourage young professionals to voice their critical perspective of the purpose and methods of their profession and to actively consider their ideas and leadership in thinking proactively about the future of audit practice. What can we do at an individual, firm/professional and societal level? Our participants had much to say.
In lively discussions, our young professionals shared very systemic concerns as well as very wise and inspirational thoughts about the future of the profession. Against the background of heightened public scrutiny and Committee Hearings, the Forum generated more productive and meaningful deliberations about what should be the value of Audit in society. While the common narrative is that audit as a career-track is mostly chosen for its stability and prospects, young professionals also pointed to the centrality of the public goods and importance of human judgement in making good decisions.
A few questions/points were recognised as salient topics for further Forum discussions:
In addition to these discussions, we are developing bespoke sessions for individual firms. Using philosophical tools and design methods, we are keen to explore how our approaches could help engage and motivate staff and to contribute actively to the learning and professional development in our member firms.
Please do get in touch if you’re interested in collaborating.email us
Chris Humphrey is challenging the profession to try a different conceptual thinking about audit and to rethink its role in creating a better society.Read more
We are hosting several workshops to explore a range of current issues and to develop tools and approaches that will help develop creative and critical thinking.Read more