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Audit Symposium 2018 - Auditing in the New Era

Audit Symposium 2018: Auditing in the New Era
by Christine, Director, Research & Editorial, SIMAA

The Audit symposium: Auditing in the New Era was held on Tuesday, 9 October 2018 at SIM HQ, in conjunction with Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Singapore. The Audit Symposium received an enthusiastic response from our fellow SIM Students, with almost 130 participants in attendance. We were honoured to have esteemed guest speakers Mr Koh Chin Beng, Partner, Risk Advisory, BDO LLP, Ms Chua Soo Rui, Partner, CA Trust PAC, and Mr Johnathan Tay, Director, Financial Services Assurance, PwC Singapore to share valuable insights about the industry.

The symposium kicked off with a sharing session by Mr Kelvin Gan from ACCA. Mr Gan mentioned that as globalisation deepens, it is not surprising that more people would expose themselves to overseas career opportunities. The ACCA qualification serves as a passport for professionals to gain overseas career opportunities as it allows the qualification holders to have the skills and professional values that are highly valued by their future employers.

Up next was the sharing by Mr Koh Chin Beng on IIA Singapore. Mr Koh shared on the importance of taking a professional certification such as Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification before embarking on an internal audit career. As a globally recognised internal audit certification, attaining a CIA designation means that one will be able to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and competencies to effectively carry out professional responsibilities as an auditor. All full-time students who are from a University or an Institution in Singapore are eligible to apply for a student membership with IIA Singapore. As a student member, one will gain access to activities such as professional networking sessions, talks on current industry trends and mentoring sessions. Furthermore, one will be connected to career opportunities within IIA member organisations even before graduating. Mr Koh also presented on the various tasks of an internal auditor which is beneficial for the SIM student population.

After the sharing sessions, Mr Ashwin Antony, Director of Business Development, SIMAA, moderated a panel discussion which covered the topics on how internal and external audit differed and how technological development has affected the internal and external audit professions. The discussion started off with Ashwin, hosting an ice-breaker segment, “Debunking Myths in the Audit Profession”. Participants logged onto the Kahoot! platform, to vote whether the statements displayed on the screen were Facts or Myths. The panel debunked the myths and reinforced the facts by sharing their insights and expertise on it.

Kicking off the panel discussion with technological advancements as a backdrop, one of the biggest advice given by the speakers to the students was to equip themselves with IT skills to be relevant in the industry in years to come. These innovations will enable accountants and auditors to produce high quality and error-free work more effectively and efficiently. Understanding these technologies and having the skillsets to utilise them would increase the opportunities for graduates to excel in the audit profession. To conclude, the core message from the panel was on mindset that one should have towards technological advancements. The panel re-iterated that the mindset should not be “How it will replace us”, but rather, “What are the higher value-proposition jobs that arise from technological advancements?”

Other than the technical skills that an auditor must keep abreast with, the panel shared that the audit profession is one that requires a high level of emotional intelligence. As the fundamental work of an auditor is to check on what has been done, auditors require tactful delivery of deficiencies and remediation in processes to the auditees. These soft skills and communication techniques are important and fundamental to the work of auditors but are often neglected in the industry.

The event concluded on a high note, as students had the opportunity to network with the panellists and visit the ACCA and IIA Singapore booths to find out about the qualifications and certifications that are available to them.

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