The accounting profession is going through a period of significant change. A couple of years ago many argued that mandatory audit firm rotation was the most significant change to impact the auditing profession in recent years. It is now upon us.
Very few people realise that more change is coming. The changes we are going to see in the next couple of years is going to have a more significant impact on the auditing profession than seen before. Businesses have evolved to keep pace with developments in Information Technology (IT), but the same cannot be said about the auditing profession.
While some auditing firms are experimenting with bleeding edge technologies built on blockchain platforms, relying on artificial intelligence etc., it has been argued that the average auditor and accounting professional has been caught off guard by developments in IT. Journalists, accounting students, and many accountants and auditors are asking whether they need to reposition themselves to remain relevant. They question the relevance of the current skill set of an accounting professional and auditor for the future.
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), along other international institutes have embarked on CA2025 in an attempt to answer these questions. CIMA and SAIPA have embarked on similar projects. One common theme is that auditors and accountants must upskill and reposition themselves on the use of IT within an audit context. The MCom (Computer Auditing) course offered by the School of Accountancy exposes students to technical details in modern information technology environments that enables them to apply computer assurance principles in practice and, equips them with the conceptual skills to deal with future technologies. The course content reflects recent changes in the business and technology environments for example, legislation and recommendations that require IT governance to ensure strategic alignment of business and information technology, value delivery and risk management.
The programme consists of a lectured component in the first year of study, and the writing of a short dissertation and an accredited article in the second year. According to Programme leader Prof Riaan Rudman of the School of Accountancy, the MCom (Computer Auditing) degree is aimed at bridging the skills gap caused by the current technology evolution. The course is targeted at professionals with a business background that are responsible for governing technology. Being a post-graduate course, the course teaches students to ask the right questions, without having to have a detailed understanding of the underlying technology.
The next cycle of the MCom (Computer Auditing) programme is expected to commence in 2024, and applications close in October 2023. For information, click here or contact Mrs Fayrouz Khan at Fayrouz@sun.ac.za or tel 021 808 3400.