Coping with the speed of change is key
In today’s world, companies are much more interconnected. Consequently, they are affected more than ever from economic and political instabilities happening anywhere in the world. Constant changes in regulations and standards as well as consumer and customer expectations, are putting high pressure on companies in meeting the new norms. They are in an incredible need of becoming agile together with their associates. As a matter of fact, the way they react to these changes defines their overall performance and success.
Audit organizations are not exempted from this constantly increasing pressure of speed. The more the audit organizations understand the implications of latest global developments to their businesses, the better they help identify the risks of organizations. Audit professionals are expected to demonstrate a good level of agility, which would mean the ability to constantly learn from the new information released, and flexibility to switch priorities as a response to rapidly changing circumstances.
Soft skills are the new hard skills
One of the biggest challenges of the world of auditing is the increased decline in the field of qualified auditors. We must admit, with today’s pace of change, it is indeed difficult to become and remain a good one. As in the case of all other professions, the required skill set for auditors is being transformed to meet the needs of the future.
Technical skills or “hard skills” as they were once labelled, remain critical for auditors to perform their job. These set of skills are at their best when acquired by hands-on experience. Technical information can be transferred to a good level of knowledge and judgement, only after enough amount of practice, sweat, failure and learning from those. The important question is whether the technical capability is enough to perform. It is for sure that auditors with certain level of operational experience do perform better than the others, only if their technical expertise is supported by non-technical attributes. Some Chief Audit Executives view the non-technical attributes as competitive differentiators in terms of performance of their audit function and passionately believe that soft skills are the new hard skills.
Now, the important question would be: “What is the set of non-technical skills defined for the audit professionals of tomorrow?”
By Tülay Kahraman
July 30, 2020