There may be little consensus when it comes to how to dig out of the current economic crisis, but on one thing, there is agreement: The need for increased scrutiny of corporate accounting practices.
As a result, one of the few expected areas of job growth is of professionals who can provide increased layers of fiduciary transparency. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected an 18 percent increase in the employment of accountants and auditors between 2006 and 2016, faster than the average for all occupations. Even taking into account the impact current economic conditions will have on the actual rate of increase — the profession expects fast-paced growth, in contrast with the massive layoffs and job freezes occurring in other sectors.
The University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business was recently recognized as having a world-class Internal Auditing Program in being named one of 19 Partner schools of the Internal Auditing Education Partnership Program. IAEP names select college programs to one of three categories: Basic, Partner and Center of Excellence. Bauer has also “laid the foundation to become a Center of Excellence,” said Santos Monroy, president of the Institute of Internal Auditors, Houston Chapter. Only five schools in the world currently share that distinction.
“Membership in the IAEP sets an academic program apart from the others and demonstrates that its students possess the knowledge, skills and experience to smoothly transition into the role of professional internal auditors,” said Michael Newman, Director of Professional Accounting Programs & Clinical Professor, Department of Accountancy & Taxation. Classes added this fall will enable UH Bauer undergraduate students to earn a Certificate in Internal Auditing. Graduate students have the option of earning both the Risk Management Certificate and Certificate of Public Accounting.
“Internal auditing is where much of the growth in accounting will occur in the coming years,” Newman said.
UH Bauer began strengthening and expanding its existing Risk Management/Internal Auditing classes in response to the needs created by the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley, which requires public companies to have internal audit controls. Business partner firms and Houston’s IAA chapter have played a central role in designing the courses. An Internal Auditing track was introduced in fall of 2008. New courses include Governance, Risk and Compliance, International Statement Reporting and others.
“Corporations, the public and our federal and state governments are requesting an increase in assurance, risk and compliance services,” Monroy said. “New regulations continue to increase corporate transparency and leadership accountability. This will increase the demand for Audit, Risk Compliance and IT Security professionals.”
Dr. George Gamble, Accounting Professor and Director of the Institute for Diversity and Cross-Cultural Management, was a driving force behind the development of Bauer’s Internal Auditing Program and a key reason for its success. He notes that the IAEP Partnership “will benefit our students immensely. It will provide them with valuable exposure that will lead to tremendous job opportunities. It also gives us an opportunity to capitalize on the current movement of transparency as it relates to superior internal controls.”
Gamble also notes that the Certificate offers added opportunities for undergraduate students who want to finish a program in four years, rather than the five year program required of CPAs.
Bauer business partners say students from Bauer’s Internal Auditing Program typically have valuable professional experience that broadens their outlook and skills, in contrast to students at other schools who for the most part have yet to be tested outside the classroom.
“Our benchmark for success is simple — we want our business partners to tell everyone that five years after they hire our students, as a group, our students performed better than those hired from other schools,” Newman said. “And that is feedback we’re already getting from many Bauer business partners,” he added.
Ron Rand, founder of The Rand Group, said his company now hires exclusively from Bauer. “The students that we have met through our recruiting efforts are better prepared and display high levels of professionalism — in appearance and in personal interactions. They are focused and have a strong understanding of where they want to take their careers after graduation. The program is preparing them well for real world experiences, something other universities don’t seem to emphasize as part of their curriculum,” Rand said.
“Participation in the IAEP program identifies the University of Houston as a forward thinking school that recognizes the importance of the internal auditing profession as a career choice,” said Veronica Johnson, CIA, and Academic Relations Director for IAA. “The University of Houston is to be commended for bringing internal auditing education to its academic curriculum in order to prepare future internal auditors.”
By Julie Bonnin