As a senior auditor at the World Bank in Washington DC, Elizabeth Logan is part of a team responsible for carrying out comprehensive and complex audits and special reviews of World Bank activities.
“At the start of the year, an annual audit work programme is approved by the President and endorsed by the audit committee of the board. This document sets out the areas of audit that the Internal Audit department will be engaged in for the forthcoming year,” explains Elizabeth. “Then the senior auditors decide what audit assignments they would particularly like to work on – typically about five to seven assignments a year.
Once our individual audit portfolio is assigned, the tone is then set for the type of training each of us needs to successfully complete the work assignments.
”There is a direct relationship between your portfolio of audit and the training that you need to do. For example, this year I am going to be involved in a lot more accounting-type audits, so I will undertake training in Sarbanes-Oxley because that is the most typical issue in the US for auditors, “explains Elizabeth.
The World Bank has an excellent training policy, according to Elizabeth. “The training is the responsibility of each employee. I can propose whatever relevant training I think I need to my supervisor.” For Elizabeth having a clear strategy in planning her training is essential. “We are required to have discussions with our supervisor early in the year, in order to plan how to achieve our training and also to meet our own department’s objectives of completing our portfolio in time and to specified quality standards,” she says. “In my view, training and fulfilling your job remit run parallel to one another – you have to manage both in order to excel as a professional,” she adds.
As an FCCA, member of the US Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), CPD is always uppermost in Elizabeth’s mind. “Many US professionals’ bodies already require a minimum number of CPD hours. Because I am a certified internal auditor and a certified information systems auditor, I have to do a minimum of 120 hours of CPD every three years.
As a result, training to gain the requisite CPD hours has been built into my work programme already,” explains Elizabeth. “However, I am fortunate in that most US professionals bodies have similar criteria for what constitutes CPD hours, so the same CPD units are accepted by most professional bodies,” she adds.
As an internal auditor, Elizabeth mainly attends courses hosted by the IIA. “The IIA issues a training catalogue of their seminars and conferences every year- so I always take a look to determine what type of training is on offer.” Other courses and training are also available. “For example,” says Elizabeth, “our external auditors have just hosted a one-day international accounting standards workshop which included topics such as international accounting standards, US GAAP, Sarbanes-Oxley and IFRS.”
Other than seminars and conferences, Elizabeth also keeps up to date with the business world by reading. “I find accounting and business, accounting & business direct and my IIA and ISACA magazines extremely useful.
I always have a copy in my bag to read on the train when I commute to work. I also find reading news websites such as BBC Online, the New York Times and CNN gives me invaluable insight in to the world of business and also to help highlight the changing roles of internal and external auditors.
I am also fascinated by the recent accounting scandals and am interested in finding out about the role of the auditor in these.”
Elizabeth finds that time limitations can be an issue for her doing more networking or development. “In the US, time for activities outside of work is extremely restricted. I get into work at 8.30am and don’t leave till 8pm most days.
When I lived in Trinidad and Tobago, I was heavily involved in the local chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors and this provided me with vital networking opportunities.
Here in the US, I am active in the Caribbean Association of World Bank and IMF Staff, working at the moment as assistant treasurer.” However, says Elizabeth, “I am not sure whether these activities would or could count towards CPD.”
Feedback from ACCA
Making it relevant
The whole ethos of continuing professional development is that it should focus on training and development that is genuinely relevant and useful to an individual when carrying out their work role. Elizabeth recognises a direct relationship between her work portfolio and training needs – anticipating what is needed in her role and identifying how to meet training and development needs in order to ensure her professional development. This approach to identifying and planning development is strongly recommended by ACCA.
Voluntary work and networking can count too
Despite having a demanding work schedule, Elizabeth still manages to find time to volunteer her services as assistant treasurer for a social club within her organisation. If Elizabeth can demonstrate how her involvement in voluntary activities contributes to her learning and development for her current or future role, then this activity can contribute towards her CPD requirement.
Variety is key
Elizabeth engages in a variety of learning activities that will all contribute to her training and development, including reading business journals and relevant business/news websites. Elizabeth is an avid reader of both accounting and business and accounting and business direct as well as other journals. The reading of these would contribute to her CPD requirement.
In addition given the nature and level of responsibility by her role, it is likely that Elizabeth is involved in activities that contribute to her development at work. This could include activities such as research, presenting on technical items, mentoring and coaching junior members of staff or discussing work-related issues with colleagues – all of which would contribute to Elizabeth’s learning and development within the workplace.