In the age of rapid technological change it is important that auditors maintain and improve their skills when it comes to using state of the art audit tools and techniques. A key component of those knowledge, skills and abilities boil down to training to keep up with change. Surveys from professional associations, professional service firms and consultants constantly identify the skills gap when it comes to audit use of analytics and emerging technology tools and techniques. AuditNet® has been at the forefront of the battle to train and provide auditors with leveraging technology for the audit profession. In order to further that goal we conducted a survey on the effectiveness of audit technology training. Following are the key observations based on the survey of more than 500 audit professionals:
- Almost 70% of the respondents felt that there is an audit technology gap in their organization/department.
- Almost 50% indicated that their department does not identify audit technology training needs during the audit planning phase.
- Over 50% indicated that technology training was not aligned with audit projects included in the annual audit plan and training gaps were not identified as part of annual performance evaluations.
- The main reasons given for not providing the training include a lack of funding for training and the tools, and low prioritization by senior management.
- Over 54% said their employer does not provide technology training on emerging technology including the use of data analytics or continuous audit.
- Almost 1/3 of the training was provided under the just in case or just in time model which have the lowest learning retention rates.
- Only 15% of the training was provided under the skills centric or competency based training which is the most effective in career building skills for auditors.
- Almost 58% that received training did not put the training to use until they needed it which is the least effective method of utilization of training.
- Over 40% of those receiving training do not provide feedback on the effectiveness of the training to their supervisors.
The survey responses clearly indicate that there are improvements that should be made to the method and delivery of technology training that would better serve both professional auditors and the organizations that they work for. Following are ten suggestions for improving audit technology training (note many of these recommendations should be initiated by the CAE:
- Develop a KSA technology training plan as part of the annual auditor evaluation
- Align technology training with the annual audit plan
- Implement a department focused approach towards moving the bar on the audit technology maturity scale.
- Promote enhanced training under a skills centric model to balance the staff’s ability to meet growing technology change.
- Identify and allocate resources for technology training and advanced technology tools.
- Require all auditors have a more detailed knowledge of incorporating analytics in all assignments where it would add to the efficiency and effectiveness of the audit.
- Share knowledge from training with other staff for the benefit of the department.
- Utilize free technology training on a just in time basis to refresh skills for a specific audit (see auditsoftwarevideos.com)
- Determine the necessary competence for personnel performing audit work for audit training plans.
- Require an effectiveness evaluation of training received after the employee returns from the training in order to plan for future training
The survey data are also available for download.