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Career Skills for Aspiring Auditors Richard Anderson MBA, CPA Partner (Retired) PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Trustee – IIA Research Foundation Beta Alpha Psi October 24, 2012
Where did this topic come from? The question I received from PwC staff; “What skills are most important to develop to qualify and be successful at higher levels in the organization?”
Agenda 1) Look at skills from two different perspectives; Skills Development for You –Core / Traditional Skills –How they are evolving Skills Now Needed for Higher Levels of Advancement Expectations of Your Key Stakeholders 2) Some thoughts on managing your career 3
First Response – Focus on Core/Traditional Audit Skills People Management and Teamwork Effective Communications Technical Auditing Skills Critical Thinking Skills Business knowledge
Traditional Skills – Evolving and Changing IIA’s Audit Executive Center Spring 2012 Survey
Traditional Skills – Evolving and Changing Critical thinking skills Most sought after skill in AEC semi-annual surveys last two years Some IA groups are now testing for this skill
Traditional Skills – Evolving and Changing Business knowledge: Consistently one of the top five skills since surveys were started by the AEC in 2008 IA groups get this knowledge through a variety of ways “Pre-condition” to enhancing risk assessments and providing assurance over risk management
Traditional Skills – Evolving and Changing Technical Auditing Skills: Quite likely will include data mining and data analytical skills going forward as core technical skills expected of all staff
Traditional Skills What wasn’t on the list?
Changing View of Traditional Skills They are important “foundational” skills Critical to “qualify” for consideration for upward movement However: they are not necessarily the skills for long term success Gets you into the game May not be game winners at higher levels
Career Focused Skills Not necessarily new, “undiscovered” skills Have a higher significance and premium because of today’s more complex and more dynamic world These skills demand more than just awareness; –Acknowledge the need to master, and –Actively develop the skills
Career Focused Skills All are applicable to auditors seeking high-level advancement inside or outside of the profession; “ Nearly seven in ten CAE’s see internal audit as a springboard for advancement into other executive management positions at their own companies or into a CAE role with greater auditory at a larger company” Grant Thornton Chief Audit Executive Survey 2011
Career Focused Skills More broad-based, personal attributes for future development; Adaptability Continuous Learning Judgment Talent and Diversity Management
Adaptability Charles Darwin: “……..it’s not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Adaptability Def: The ability to change to fit changed circumstances. Critical for long term career success Proactive personal adaptation vs. reactive Involves taking some personal risk – Experimentation – Improvisation “Future leaders will be people who adapt their jobs, working styles, and skills to stay ahead of the curve as they see change coming.” Dick Anderson – “Critical Skills for CAE Success” 15
Adaptability ……the ability to change to fit changed circumstances CEO with his leadership team; Question: What will the organization look like in 10 years? Response: The only things CEO was certain of; different organization different industry different business environment
Adaptability A mindset A positive perspective on change An expectation that we have to continually adapt to take advantage of the changing environment A willingness to take personal risks –Experiment –Improvise “Take control of your career rather than feeling you are being constantly whipsawed by change” – Dick Anderson
Continuous Learning Individuals must maintain personal relevance and capabilities by innovating and investing in themselves: How do I continue to distinguish and differentiate myself? What capabilities do I need to take advantage of new ideas and trends? Where and how do I get the training or education I need Move away from just a CPE/Compliance mindset to one of continuous, personal learning.
Continuous Learning Maintaining one’s personal and professional relevance Requires personal commitment An enabler of “adaptability” More than just “continuing professional education”
Judgment Not a new skill but has become even more significant Complexities of today’s world places a premium on this skill- “Trusted Advisor” Critical for success as an auditor –Critical issue recognition –Risk prioritization –What, and to whom to communicate
Judgment as a Process Requires the development and exercise of good decision making skills “…the judgment tendencies and shortcuts that human beings often rely on can short-circuit such a process and as a results, our decisions can be biased.”
Judgment as a Process COSO “Enhancing Board Oversight”
Judgment as a Process COSO “Enhancing Board Oversight” Common Threats to Good Judgment: Rush to Solve: select the first seemingly workable alternative Judgment Triggers: an initiating force that triggers a decision Overconfidence: leads to under investing in defining the problem, considering too few alternatives or skipping information Confirmation: see and overweigh confirming information Anchoring: anchor on initial information without being able to adjust away from that value Availability: limit alternatives or information to what readily comes to mind
A Final Comment on Judgment Might be on the verge of another personal attribute or a variation on the judgment attribute; –You also have to be able or have the courage to speak up and stand behind the good judgments and decisions you make
Talent and Diversity Management The ability to acquire and nurture a diverse workforce –A shifting mentality from diversity as “a good social objective” to something that is “necessary to conduct business” The continuing effects of demographics and globalization
Talent and Diversity Management Acquire and nurture talent and a diverse workforce; How to acquire talent? How to develop talented people? How to challenge and reward? How to build and operate diverse teams? How to retain a talented diverse workforce?
Globalization Related to diversity, but presents new challenges: Need to form and operate global teams that may never actually meet in person Motivate people to accept international assignments Recognize and reward staff for working outside the home country Recognize and value nondomestic professional and academic credentials Understand and manage cultural differences
What are the “skills” that your stakeholders expect? 29 “ A Strategic Player” Rittenberg & Anderson Our attempt to look at CAE skills through the eyes of the stakeholders Focused on 6 key criteria
6 key criteria Stature and presence Understanding of the organization’s strategy Strategic audit focus Ability to exercise sound judgment and communicate clearly on audit issues Development of human resources Management of technical auditing activities
Some thoughts on managing your career Set long-term goals but manage your career in “orbits¹” “ Orbits” 2 – 5 year increments activities that enhance your skills and experiences prepares yourself to move to a “higher orbit” Source: Dr. Alex McKenna, McKenna International
Some thoughts on managing your career Create your own opportunities – Fix a big mess! best way to –Gain unique experiences –Get noticed!
Some thoughts on managing your career Always understand the needs of an employer or potential employer avoid mis-alignment match with your skills (this is why Dick was never a capital markets trader!)
Some thoughts on managing your career Constantly challenge yourself; “What am I bringing to the table?” How are you differentiated from your peers? Look at your resume –Facts vs qualitative attributes How do you interview?
Some thoughts on managing your career Understand the role and nature of compensation It is very important to all of us, however; it is not a long-term motivator it is a dynamic not a static event it can be a major reason why a new job or opportunity does not work out
Some thoughts on managing your career A final rule in managing your career; Communicate Communicate some more!
“While training and support for personal development are expected from any good employer, above all, personal development is a shared, personal responsibility of each individual to see to their own development.” - Dick Anderson So………………….. 37
38 So…………..Are you preparing yourself to win the race?