Collaborative Student Auditing Project
Industry and Community Partner
The University of Tasmania (UTAS)
- Co-designed with industry or community
- Coach or mentor elements
- Flexibility in duration, location and space
- Community engaged
- The Course Coordinator for the UTAS Bachelor of Business (Accounting) has strong industry contacts including being on the Divisional Council of CPA Australia. These connections enabled access to professional auditors to act as mentors to the project teams and a strong industry reference group.
- Other regional industry connections include the Northern Business Reference Group of Tasmania which provides brokerage to a large number of not-for-profit community partners.
For more information
The community partners were specifically chosen to provide students with an opportunity to contribute to their local community. In addition to university supervisors, teams were provided with a professional auditor from a local accounting firms who acted as a mentor throughout the Auditing WIL Project. Academic staff, community partners and industry mentors attended a comprehensive orientation together for the WIL Project. The project took place over a semester with student teams undertaking weekly team visits and presenting their findings and recommendations at the conclusion of their project.
Impact / outcomes
Students: the experience of understanding and evaluating internal financial controls of the host organisation gave students an understanding of how auditing works in the real world. Having to understand these steps, identify strengths and weaknesses, evaluate real internal financial controls and make recommendations allowed students to demonstrate their learning and understanding of this part of an audit. Additionally students gained significant and meaningful insights into organisational operations and business culture as well as broaden their understanding of accountancy as a career path.
The advice from the professional mentors proved invaluable and at times extended beyond the requirements of the Auditing WIL Project for the students. Students also valued the opportunity to contribute to their community .
Community and industry partners: Recommendations made by student teams identified opportunities for significant improvements for financial controls for community partners. This was most evident in the smaller not-for-profit organisations. The WIL Project also provided the opportunity for industry mentors to identify talent for future recruitment.
Teaching staff: The WIL Project enabled teaching staff to provide an authentic experience to students by undertaking the initial steps in a formal auditing process. The involvement of professional auditors mentoring project teams added additional currency around industry practices and tools to students’ learning.
Students assessments included a team report, a peer assessment, and a self-reflection report. The team report was jointly assessed by the teaching staff and host organisation.
The UTAS Auditing WIL Project was evaluated using a 360 degree feedback survey mechanism for all stakeholders, students, teaching staff, community and industry partners.