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Changing environment requires the upskilling of accountants and auditors
Author: Ronél Beukes & Riaan Rudman
Published: 08/06/2021

“The accounting profession and the assurance landscape are not immune to new technologies. To be ahead of the curve, accounting and auditing professionals need to reposition and upskill themselves to remain relevant in their roles," says Prof Riaan Rudman of the SU School of Accountancy and Programme Leader of the MCom (Computer Auditing) degree.

Society is going through a period of significant change as technologies in the fourth industrial revolution are triggering a transformation in economic and social structures. As a result of this, the lines between digital, physical and biological systems are being blurred, says Prof Rudman.

“One example of significant change that is expected in the accounting profession, is the use of dashboards and visualisations to report information vital for decision making. Auditors need to respond to changes in the reporting landscape by changing their assurance models and approaches."

The SU School of Accountancy has therefore designed a programme aimed at bridging the skills gap caused by the current technology evolution by focusing on aspects of assurance that matter in a cyber physical world. It teaches chartered accountants and auditors key principles to re-think and re-conceptualise auditing in modern organisations.

The MCom (Computer Auditing) course offered by the School of Accountancy exposes students to technical details in modern information technology environments that enable them to apply computer assurance principles. It also equips them with the conceptual skills to deal with future technologies, whether a block chain accounting system or an adaptive dashboard.

The part-time programme consists of a lectured component in the first year of study, and the writing of a short dissertation in the second year. The programme allows for face-to-face, virtual and block lectures.