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Title: A critique of how developments within the auditing profession were integrated into the higher education audit modules
Author: Davies, Marlene
ISNI:       0000 0004 2706 539X
Awarding Body: University of Glamorgan
Current Institution: University of South Wales
Date of Award: 2011
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This overview gives a summary of the research started 15 years ago in relation to the developments within the audit and governance environment. The developments focus on their impact on public sector audit activity and how these developments have been embedded in higher education (HE) programmes. The research and subsequent outputs have contributed to the introduction of innovative teaching methods that reflect contemporary developments in the audit profession. In introducing these developments the teaching approach for audit orientated modules has moved away from a didactic approach to experiential learning approach. This submission includes material from eight refereed published journal articles, one refereed paper presented at a conference and a chapter from a textbook. In addition, other journal publications and conference papers, which were presented at both national and international conferences, are mentioned as contributions to knowledge. At the time of submission of this work, one paper was under review for publication. While related areas of research were ongoing in respect of audit training within the profession and audit committees within Housing Associations. The period of research activity spans the years 1995 – to 2011. These outputs cover three key areas in terms of contribution to learning. The first area looks at the design and development of a case study as a teaching medium focusing on experiential (hands on) learning as the basis for a module on computer auditing. This was based on research into the practical audit approaches within the public sector. The public sector was the focus of the initial research as it had a requirement for the presence of an internal audit function. This focus on the public sector focus continued into subsequent research. The application of audit techniques to provide a better appreciation of auditing was introduced into module development as a consequence of the research findings. This specifically applied information technology (IT) as a tool for audit which was embedded in a case study, and more recently for forensic accounting purposes. The use of MS Office Excel as a teaching medium was used initially to replicate audit software packages and referred to as ‘Excel as an audit tool’. This was later replaced by commercial audit software using datasets. The second theme considers the impact of policies by government relating to aspects of accountability, value for money and performance measurement, again with an emphasis on the public sector audit function in verifying data used as indicators. The third area examines the working relationship between internal audit and the audit committee, with a focus on the influence of corporate governance codes on internal control requirements and risk management. All three areas identify the changing face of audit as a consequence of external pressures such as IT developments, accountability requirements, pressures on limited resources and government codes of best practice recommendations and guidelines. The integration of these developments in to HE focused initially on undergraduate modules within the BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance programme. The developments were later integrated into post graduate modules as well as acting as an information conduit for local government in Wales. The link between all three themes is that of the changes facing the audit profession and how these have been incorporated into the teaching of audit at HE level. These changes reflect the audit role in terms of the adoption of a proactive approach to responding, not only to the application of technology, but also to both public and government expectations in terms of indirect and direct requirements. This nexus between the themes is further enhanced by the use of audited information conveyed electronically for the purpose of performance verification of targets and the relationship between the efficient use of resources and good governance approaches. The recognition of the research output in the early stages was reinforced in 1998 by the award of Research Fellow from Grant Thornton and involvement with the Welsh Chief Auditors Group (WCAG) which resulted in the research focusing on Welsh local government. Further research has incorporated forensic auditing techniques and the internal audit function in the corporate arena. These were further utilised within the innovative and ground breaking development of the BA (Hons) Forensic Accounting programme. While the corporate governance work has taken the international route of comparing corporate governance codes of best practice and formed an important element within the post graduate programmes of MSc Accounting, MSc Forensic Accounting and MSc Management and Development of International Financial Systems. Funded consultancy work has produced professional body reports on the training of professional auditors in contrast to the academic development of teaching material with journal papers contributing to the knowledge of both the HE community and practitioners. Finally the research and development of lecture material has been utilised for a joint publication of a textbook on auditing entitled Auditing Fundamentals (Davies & Aston 2010). This document discusses the three themes by critiquing how the changing face of auditing influences the design and delivery of auditing modules within accounting programmes, in the context of higher education. The collection and analysis of data, and especially practitioner views, form part of the background to the research method adopted. The output and findings provide the basis of the contribution to knowledge which informs HE practice and the profession. The research output has contributed to enhancing both undergraduate and post graduate teaching material as well as reports to parties outside the higher education environment. The contribution to knowledge has been threefold, where the HE environment of undergraduate and postgraduate students have been exposed to current developments in auditing, along with an opportunity to learn via experiential learning techniques. Members of the profession have been enlightened on the issues affecting their working practices via conferences and training seminars. Finally management have capitalised on the research output and utilised this to make informed decisions. Further research opportunities have arisen as a direct result of research undertaken whilst other opportunities for disseminating knowledge and information have occurred via representations on various bodies and working parties including media interviews.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: auditing ; finance ; public auditing