THE BSc in internal auditing, a new degree programme launched by the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), will fill a major gap in the accounting and finance industry, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams has said.
The four-year degree programme is endorsed by the international body of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) based in the United States, the Caribbean directorate covering 11 Caribbean chapters, the local chapter of the IIA in Jamaica, and the Internal Audit Directorate covering all government ministries and agencies in the Jamaican public sector. Internal auditors employed by companies perform independently of their operations, allowing the internal auditor to give management and the board of directors an unbiased assessment of the internal control environment.
Speaking at the launch of the programme on July 20, Williams congratulated the UCC for the addition of the degree to its long list of programme offerings, noting that, "There is a huge need for professionals trained in the area of internal audit, that allows for separation of duties and reporting independently on matters of compliance, governance, and risk management".
"The UCC undergraduate degree, which focuses on financial investigation and analysis, will give students the academic knowledge to come to an assessment or conclusions about businesses or departments being investigated. It will incorporate aspects of accounting, law, governmental best practice and protocol, and information systems applications," she noted.
The minister said that, "While studying auditing, the students will develop key skills and abilities related to numeracy and mathematical aptitudes, business acumen, economical and financial knowledge, general IT skills, boost their self-motivation and attention to detail, as well as encourage good time management and communication skills."
Noting that the world is "ever evolving", Williams said that "our universities need to adapt to ensure their students are graduating equipped to handle the challenges of the day".
"The UCC will afford students the opportunity to access a learning experience that will enable them to succeed and transform their lives whilst also making a positive impact on the health, wealth, culture, and well-being of our society. I commend the UCC for its foresight in continuously reviewing and updating its course portfolio to reflect the changing needs of our graduates, employers, and society," she said.
Pointing to what she described as "an increasing focus on student recruitment", Williams said it makes sense to ensure course portfolios are as appealing as possible.
"It's important that universities respond to market demand and keep their offerings current and relevant, and it's not just students that will benefit from the addition of the Bachelor of Science in Internal Audit degree programme, but future employers too."
"In an increasingly competitive sector, reviewing and updating course portfolios has become a significant focus for institutions. This effort helps to ensure that degree programmes meet the expectations of students and employers and eventually lead to new opportunities. A win-win situation for all parties involved!"
Professor Dennis Gayle, president of the UCC, said that the university was proud to be "pioneering" the island's first degree programme in internal auditing and noted that students will be prepared for matriculation to the Certified Internal Auditors professional programme and may therefore leave the university with both their first degree and the highest certification offered by the IIA.
"Our students will be exposed to the practical and theoretical concepts of internal auditing, opening career options not only in finance and auditing but within areas of compliance, forensic auditing, enterprise risk management, and the use of information technology in the audit function," Professor Gayle explained.
Applicants require five General Certificate of Education (GCE) or Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) passes, including mathematics and English language for matriculation. UCC also offers candidates opportunities to upgrade their qualifications for matriculation into the degree programme through foundation courses or mature entry (if 25 years of age and over).
David Hall, managing director of DC Consultants and Associates, who are partners in the promotion of the degree programme, said this marks the culmination of a vision which was conceptualised over 10 years ago when he was the president of the local chapter of the IIA.
"At that time it was identified that there was a gap in the career choices of students who wanted to complete a degree in internal auditing, as this was not an option. It is therefore my distinct pleasure to partner with the UCC in establishing this degree programme and to have it endorsed by the international body of the Institute of Internal Auditors. As a certified internal auditor who has travelled extensively worldwide conducting audits, working with other auditors from diverse cultures, and assisting companies to achieve their operational and strategic objectives, I would recommend this rewarding career to aspiring applicants."