Training is an important part of any practice and profession, as it imparts the necessary knowledge into the concerned individuals to aid them in their operations. Many auditing firms carry out continuous education to their employees and other stakeholders. Public auditing organisations usually have programmes that are meant to improve their auditors’ proficiency and skill levels (Boolaky, Krishnamurti & Hoque 2013). This essay looks at a training strategy for auditors in a public auditing organisation. It focuses on the development of proficiency, skills, and communication for these individuals.
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Mission and Vision
The improvement of proficiency in any organisation can lead to improved performance in areas such as productivity. Public auditing organisations often have young auditors whose experience may not be adequate for such organisations. A training programme is necessary where there is a need to improve the performance of such an organisation and/or to ensure accountability. A training strategy allows researchers and other people in the organisation to develop standards. The mission of this training strategy is to improve employee proficiency and skills in the public audit organisation. The vision is to ensure that the organisation is a global and national leader in audit operations.
Training strategies are important in several ways, especially in the auditing area. All employees who work in the different audit organisations are academically qualified after having graduated from higher institutions of learning (Applegate 2004). However, the business environment is different from the gathered academic knowledge. Hence, organisations need to adapt their employees and auditors to their specific areas (Kupritz & Hillsman 2011). Just as most of the other professional areas, auditing is a field that witnesses constant change. Hence, organisations need to update their practices to reflect these changes.
Training strategies are important because they act as guides to the different organisational stakeholders. The public auditing organisations have the obligation of ensuring quality service delivery. As a result, training acts as one of the areas to improve in this area. Human beings are prone to forget the different things that they learn in their respective areas. Therefore, training acts as a way of ensuring that they stay at par with the changing world and professionalism. Another recognised effect of training is employee motivation. Beck and Wu (2006) recognise that training improves employee satisfaction at their respective areas, with this plan also affecting organisational output and performance.
The training strategy is important in the implementation of any training practices in several ways. Through training strategies, trainers and organisations can implement the training that is meant for their employees (Beck & Wu 2006). A training strategy allows time for organisations to organise their training techniques and establish the working ones. According to Beck and Wu (2006), employees who receive training should follow a general strategy for maximum results. Training strategies are generally utilised in any training course, especially in the organisational setting where such activity is mainly informal.
Training strategies ensure that the training exercise is well organised and less costly for the organisations that are implementing it (Chen, Yang & Yang 2012). For public auditing organisations that embark on training of their auditors, a training strategy is useful because these organisations have fewer funds at their disposal. Training strategies, in this case, also ensure that problem solving is done effectively and efficiently. Involved individuals have a better chance of achieving the training objectives as opposed to other forms of training that are done without any strategies.
What Auditors Need to Know
Auditing is a wide topic and subject that requires competence in different areas. Some of the topics that are useful in the training of auditors in public auditing organisations include general auditing, professionalism, problem-solving, communication skills, fraud, evaluating audit evidence, sampling, mathematics, data collection, presentation and reporting, and operations management (Siriwardane & Durden 2014). Some of the other areas that public auditors need to demonstrate knowledge in include management control, finance accounting, information technology, and managerial accounting (Siriwardane & Durden 2014).
Auditors should be conversant with the internal auditing process, especially planning, risk assessment, internal control evaluation, and knowledge of the audit procedures (Siriwardane & Durden 2014). Being in possession of this knowledge is important for auditors since it allows them to tackle any of the audit problems appropriately. The management of the audit department is important to know for auditors since they are at one time required to take over these departments and facilitate their operations.
Auditors should exhibit professional ethics in their operations, including the respect of the general ethics and auditing laws (Thépot 2008). Therefore, there is a need for these individuals to be acquainted with ethics in the professional area. Auditors need to know how to prevent fraud, detect any fraudulent activity, and/or investigate it (Maloş 2011). Therefore, it is important for auditors to be trained on fraud as a unit and subject. The audit departments in public organisations often face several challenges. Auditors should be trained to handle these challenges, with the initial requirement being to audit evidence. The other requirement is that auditors need to learn issues such as documentation and data collection since they form a significant part of their operation.
Implementing the Strategy
The audit training strategy is easy to implement, especially if it is well organised. The implementation of a training strategy should aim at integrating the strategy to the organisational objectives and goals (Herhausen, Egger & Oral 2014). The implementation process should also make the training process effective. According to Mascle (2013), training and development of employees form a means of investment in human resource. They constitute a partnership between the organisation and the individual. Mascle (2013) asserts that training does not occur in a vacuum. This claim reveals the importance of linking a training strategy to the overall organisational goals and objectives.
The implementation of a training strategy requires a financial investment. Organisations should plan ahead of time and budget for this activity. The next thing is the provision of training manuals and the necessary equipment or resources for use in the training. For example, public auditing organisations need to supply the materials for use in strategic training, including manuals and human resources to train auditors. When trainers are available, the organisation should shortlist the groups of people who are to receive the training and determine the areas and activities that will be learnt. The organisations should shortlist the areas of importance in the process of training.
Training should be targeted to the objectives of the organisation, including the goals that are to be attained. A timeframe is also necessary for the training of these individuals. This claim means that a timetable should be created to ensure that the training practices are done according to time and the objectives to be achieved. An evaluation of the teaching and training is important in any training strategy (Herhausen, Egger & Oral 2014). The public auditing organisations will offer a continuous assessment of the areas that are learnt in training. This strategy will act as a form of feedback. An effective training strategy should allow frequent training sessions to ensure that the participants’ knowledge and skills are reinforced.
Measurement and Evaluation of Training Strategy Outcomes
The assessment of the success of a training strategy can be done in a variety of ways. Individuals are assessed based on the knowledge they gather from the training and other areas of their practice. The target of a training strategy is to ensure improved performance of the individuals and the organisations in which they work (Bontaş 2012). Different areas may be assessed in the establishment of the training strategy outcome. These areas are assessed based on the targets.
Like other training and training strategies, assessment of success may be done in several ways that are dependent on the training variables as listed in this part of the essay. This assessment may be done in the acute period or after the training is over, depending on the goals of the training strategy. Hence, the assessment methods may be classified into short term and long-term assessment modules and methods. They include:
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- Assessment of trainees and the knowledge acquired after each of the training sessions. This activity takes the shape of examinations and assignments where the different areas are practiced.
- Trainees are handed survey forms after the training to assess the satisfaction and/or of the training session (Bontaş 2012). The satisfaction evaluated from the surveys demonstrates one area of the success of the training.
- Trainers need to evaluate knowledge acquisition for the public auditing trainees. This step can be done through examination after the training sessions (Bontaş 2012). This evaluation module establishes whether the training is sufficient for the auditors or whether there is still a need for further training.
- The other assessment is whether the trainees have adequate behaviour application (Hiscock & Shuldham 2008). In this form of assessment, the trainers and organisation ask the question of whether trained individuals are applying the gathered knowledge and skills.
- Another measure that may be applied both in the short term and in the long term is the assessment of business improvement. In auditing, the noted improvement should include increased accuracy and improved performance of the auditors.
- For organisations that are involved in profit-making, a return on investment (ROI) may serve as a useful measure.
Developing Communication Skills for the Employees
Auditing is an area that requires adequate use of communication skills because it involves contact between different groups of people. Communication skills allow employees, especially auditors, to communicate their intentions, findings, and suggestions effectively to their clients. For public audit organisations that have significant interaction between clients and employees, communication skills are necessary since they allow them to improve on service delivery and any other service to their employees. There are some ways that these organisations may develop the communication skills of their employees. One of the most basic of these methods is participation in training. The respective organisations have to plan for internal and external training programmes for the employees.
Some of the most important communication skills include being loud and clear while making presentations or interacting with different people, along with their work. The auditors should ensure that they maintain eye contact because it communicates a sense of responsibility and confidence. Individuals who maintain good eye contact are convincing and/or can win major deals (Wardrope 2002). In the case of auditing, the maintenance of eye contact results in better communication. Public auditing organisations are better positioned to deal with the different types of auditing challenges in a diverse sector. Therefore, there is a need for effective communication.
Another important concept of communication is posture where the communicator is required to maintain a good posture while communicating (Bontaş 2012). Employees should be trained on what posture to maintain in the course of any communication, as this requirement is also an aid in communication (Wolters 2011). Auditors should be taught on the utilisation of brief notes where they are allowed to make some notes on the issue that they discuss. These notes complement the visual aids that objectify the ideas being communicated.
Motivation to be Included
The training strategy should incorporate several motivation plans for the participants. The plans include the provisions that motivate trainees to continue with the training and/or adopt the practices that are taught. Trainees who undergo any training exercise may be motivated in a number of ways since this activity is an ordinary learning process (Wolters 2011). Most of the motivation plans are easy to achieve and inexpensive to activate. One of the most common and effectively used forms of motivation plans is the provision of positive feedback for trainees (Kaymaz 2011). Just like other students, auditors who undergo any form of training respond positively to positive feedback.
Tasks that are assigned to the auditors should also be realistic and not too hard or easy for them. Auditors should also be provided with role models during their training sessions to ensure that they have personalities to emulate (Kaymaz 2011). This plan also acts as a form of benchmark for the training auditors in these public auditing organisations. For individuals who find the training hard, the other form of motivation that can be utilised is an encouragement and further training for such people. Financial motivation is also another option that can be adopted when implementing the training strategy for auditors in public organisations.
Resistance is a common experience in training strategies. There are several ways of dealing with it, including:
- Allowing divergent views in the course of the training and/or creating their space in the training strategy
- Providing alternatives to trainees so that they can adopt their different views
- Allowing the input of the audit trainees while training
- Incorporating different teams of trainers from different parts of the industry and different auditing areas
- Holding discussions on the different methods and areas that are found to have controversy
Skills of the Team Leader
A team leader is a person who can lead a group to productivity and efficiency even in training. This person needs to have special skills, including:
- A team leader should have adequate communication skills
- The person should have appropriate organisational skills
- Confidence is another characteristic that a team leader should possess
- The individual should be respectful to team members and other individuals (Wolters 2011)
- Leaders should be fair to their colleagues in the team
- Honesty is a virtue that a leader should possess. He or she should exhibit integrity and influence (Parry et al. 2014).
Improving a Leader’s Communication Skills
Communication skills are also essential for leaders who should apply them in their leadership of the team. A leader offers direction to the team. Hence, he or she should be able to communicate with all members of the team. A leader’s communication skills may be improved in several ways, such as interacting with other team members. A useful method of improving communication skills is training where individuals obtain the necessary skills (Parry et al. 2014). Leaders get training in different subjects and areas. As such, their training should incorporate communication skills training (Parry et al. 2014). Training leaders should be an effective method for incorporating communication skills.
Communication skills should be incorporated in the training that leaders go through in the institutions where they are trained. Some of the other ways of ensuring better communication skills for leaders is to ensure that they participate in the group activities, especially groups that require the utilisation of these skills (Parry et al. 2014). This claim means that leaders should be encouraged early enough to undertake their leadership in the form of communication (Parry et al. 2014). The other method that can be used to develop communication skills in leaders is the provision of manuals and lessons on the same issue (Parry et al. 2014). When leaders attain communication skills, they can use them to influence their teams for better results.
Subjects for Team Leader
Team leaders should have basic training on leadership, especially on how to interact with different groups and types of people. Leaders should be taught in areas such as how to handle different classes of people based on the response of these two different circumstances (Muethel & Hoegl 2010). According to Muethel and Hoegl (2010), leadership training entails demonstration of different capabilities of leaders and their teams. Leadership training also incorporates areas such as crowd management together with how to correct individuals without hurting their egos (Muethel & Hoegl 2010).
Another area that leaders in an auditing training programme should be trained on is discipline and social interaction (Muethel & Hoegl 2010). Leaders should receive communication skills training to allow them to offer leadership to their teams while at the same time, delivering the best decisions in an excellent method and way. According to Muethel and Hoegl (2010), leaders should be trained in management, group psychology, and motivation. Some leaders face conflicts in the course of their leadership, especially in the area of auditing. Therefore, there is a need for leaders to acquire conflict management training where they are taught how to manage the conflicts that they may face.
Leaders should receive basic training in psychology and social interaction because they are involved in the control of other individuals. They need to learn how to exert influence and command respect to their team members (Muethel & Hoegl 2010). In auditing, financial management is a necessity for leaders since other auditors in other levels have to work on this area. They need to have the same training as other auditors in their team in addition to the leadership training that they get (Muethel & Hoegl 2010). Leaders should be trained on accountability, which in turn applies to them in their auditing work. These areas and modules of training should be crucial for all leaders.
Importance of these skills
The development of the above skills for auditors and team leaders bears special significance in their operations. This importance is analysed in this section.
Importance to Auditors
- Auditors can carry out their auditing functions effectively without any interference. The different functions of auditors are learnt through effective training (Muethel & Hoegl 2010).
- The development of management skills allows auditors to execute their responsibilities in an effective manner
- While leaders provide direction for their team, auditors develop the cleverness of executing the different instructions based on the skills communicated to them by the leaders.
- Different leadership models that are taught to auditors allow them to develop areas of strength for change. They allow them to teach their colleagues and improve efficiency.
- Communication skills enable auditors to interact with their peers while developing sound reasoning in their work.
Importance to Leaders
Leaders also require the strategies and skills that have been listed above since they are important to them in a variety of ways.
- Development of communication skills for leaders allows them to interact with different sets of people that they encounter in their leadership
- The skills allow leaders to supervise their colleagues and/or facilitate them to achieve the goals that they stand for in their respective organisations
- Leaders are also able to execute their mandate as per the area from which they operate
- Leaders also acquire skills that are necessary for them in terms of making sound decisions, which relate to their work, including the formulation of ideas where they involve all participants
- Leaders acquire the skill of managing a large number of auditors and/or verifying the different findings of their teams
Communication Plan for Stakeholders
An organisation should highlight the stakeholders that are important to their positive performance. A communication plan may be used to ensure that stakeholders in an organisation are aware of the different laws and guidelines in this organisation. The communication plan should be developed to cater for all areas of communication, including verbal and written communication. The communication map to deal with stakeholders and/or how to improve their awareness with the organisation’s laws and guidelines should incorporate the following:
- The plan should be exhaustive. Besides, it should use the simplest language that all stakeholders can understand
- The communication plan should also be developed in consultation with other stakeholders, including auditors and their leaders
- Different stakeholders should be made to understand the different messages that are communicated to them. The communication plan should allow room for inquiries
- Communication should be timely and well organised where auditors and leaders receive information promptly so that they can effectively utilise it
- Appropriate communication skills should consist of communication devices such as placards and adverts. These tools should communicate appropriate information to all stakeholders
For leaders, effective communication skills should incorporate the latest evidence that captures what is best for their organisation and followers.
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