A modern audit profession needs a level of professional preparation that could inspire, build and sustain its workforce. This requires attention to the seriousness and practice of theory and learning, to facilitate the cultivation of critical judgement in aspiring auditors. It also requires the sort of powerful educational experiences that can foster a sense of liberation, curiosity and commitment.
Audit is informed by and contributes to some key issues within business, politics, human rights, ethics and sustainable development. Solving problems and innovating in these areas, and the practice of audit, calls for auditors who can combine their technical skills with a deep understanding of the purpose of their profession and the emotional intelligence, moral orientation, and vision to be a ‘good professional’.
Through AuditFutures’ projects and research, we explore why it is important for the education and training of auditors to broaden their perspective beyond the required technical excellence and skillsets. The essays in our online resources hub (www.AuditFutures.net/manifesto-resources) consider the educational experiences needed; creating space to develop necessary capacities; experiential and reflective practices; and rethinking approaches to teaching.
Aims of education (www.AuditFutures.net/manifesto-resources) urges a rethink on the purpose of education of professional auditors, by fostering the development of three interwoven aspects: excellence (pursuing a ‘good’ that is internal to the practice of audit); engagement (the ability and motivation to critically engage with the purpose and function of audit); and ethicаlity (a broad understanding of ethics that emphasises ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’).
Education: fostering excellence, engagement and ethicality (www.AuditFutures.net/manifesto-resources) picks up this theme. It shares some of the engagement and research AuditFutures has undertaken, and what we have learnt about what is needed to proactively guide professional auditors to develop an understanding of social and economic purpose, values, public good, and ethical leadership.
Inspiring a love of wisdom (www.AuditFutures.net/manifesto-resources) looks more closely at some of the work AuditFutures has done with universities, training providers and professional services firms to enable and support the development of creativity, critical thinking and ethical reasoning in young auditors. The goal is to foster the personal motivation, values, competencies and behaviours the modern profession needs.
The essay explores how young audit professionals are incentivised and motivated, internally and externally, and shares insights into how we learn from academic research in philosophy, psychology and organisational theory. It shares aspects of AuditFutures’ project Philosophy for Accountancy (P4A), which engages trainee auditors in philosophical inquiry and reflection, and suggests how to integrate this into professional curricula.
AuditFutures’ educational collaborations offer valuable insights. They can deepen understanding of the needs and aspirations of young auditors, reveal opportunities for academics and practice to work together, and reinforce other AuditFutures’ research findings. Integrated and long-term initiatives in professional education are needed to develop the audit professionals the future demands.
A report to promote a vision for a broader professional curriculum that contextualises technical content within its social purpose, and emphasises the importance of reflective and dialectic thinking in professionalsRead more
A short documentary about our pilot ‘Philosophy for Accoutancy’ programme at Manchester UniversityRead more
Highlights from the first ‘Time to Think’ session that we hosted for young professionals on 12 March at ICAEWRead more