The challenges of the 21st century for audit and assurance require new leadership values and organisational culture. We have developed the AuditFutures University programme to inspire students and engage them in a dialogue about the future of their profession. On 29 April we hosted our first workshop in Manchester Business School with over 60 BS, MSc and PhD students from Manchester University and Metropolitan University.
The students enjoyed the event very much, especially the opportunity to meet other professionals from varied backgrounds. Over 15 people from the accounting firms, ICAEW and academia supported the event and actively participated in the discussions. We all believe that our profession must be forward facing and hence any interaction with the next generation is critical. The feedback from the firms was very positive and some commented how they were “really astounded by the level of engagement from the students”. In reflection, we thought the level of the discussions, ideas, questions were excellent and very thought provoking. The most useful part was the confirmation of how much students want to be involved in something which is “right” and giving something back to the community
A detailed summary of the workshop will be published in the next edition of the Panorama newsletter. Here are some of the feedback we have received from the students:
Before coming to the event I had thought that there will be less discussion and more talks/ lectures from other people. However this was not the case and I fully appreciate the chance that was given to current students to present their thoughts as well as allowing us to take part in discussions. I believe that after the event I am much more confident in becoming a professional as well as proud to have contributed to the betterment of the profession.
The event was very informative as well as challenging. I really enjoyed the discussions and the debates with the group. It was very interesting to hear the thoughts and the experiences of the people both from the practice and the academia.
I would like AuditFutures to reach out more to younger students e.g. college or school level as well as providing them with more opportunities to broaden their understanding of the profession. I believe so because when I was at college, I had very little knowledge of the profession. It will not only improve the perception of auditors/accountants but also help in clearing any misunderstandings that prevent people from choosing this profession.
I am grateful that all participants were able to create a safe and creative environment for sharing thoughts, opinions and ideas. It was important to me that I was able to walk in and share my views without feeling intimidated or left out of the conversation. This was especially true in the smaller group discussions, where all were invited to speak without being judged.