Establishing a competency framework for the integration of workplace Information Technology knowledge and skills within an Internal Audit education programme and training
Modisane, Tshepo Cameron
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Constantly changing workplace requirements, the rapid increase of knowledge and the evolving technology require a competent workforce that meets the current demands. The evolution of technology and changes in business requirements in terms of IT knowledge and skills required to meet current demands have created a gap between IT skills taught to students and those required by businesses. The purpose of this study was to develop a competency framework for workplace integrated IT knowledge and skills for internal audit students at tertiary institutions in South Africa. The growing scope and requirements of internal audit practitioners calls for more focused training and development around IT knowledge and skills. Developing a workplace with IT integrated competency demands empirical research into the relative importance of internal audit competencies. A content analysis was conducted from existing literature to determine applicable competency frameworks in order to formulate the IT competency statements to be tested through questionnaires. A quantitative and qualitative design using the survey and interview approach was adopted. A questionnaire was administered to a non-probability judgment sample of 53 internal audit practitioners and academic staff at 11 universities and universities of technology in South Africa that offer dedicated internal auditing education programmes. The questionnaire was administered in a quantitative manner using a Likert scale. The interview to the captains of industry included open ended questions that allowed for qualitative data gathering. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (version 24.0) and Microsoft Excel 2010. The results of the data analysis revealed that the participants who were potential employers agreed with the IT knowledge and skills competency statements. At the same time, there were expectation gaps between what the potential practising employers expected from internal audit graduates from South African universities who studied internal auditing and what was emphasised at the tertiary institutions. The competency statements where the gaps existed included auditing and management skills, programme development and programme change to prevent unauthorised changes to systems and applications, ERP systems and internet and e-business. The competency framework was evaluated and validated by four captains of industry from the internal auditing profession through interviews (qualitative methodology), who supported the framework. The findings of this study provide empirical evidence regarding the need for improvement of the current internal audit education programme, specifically around IT knowledge and skills. The study recommends an integrated IT workplace competency framework for internal audit professionals, which is relevant to all domains of IT knowledge and skills expected from internal auditors in practice. At the same time, the industry can now determine critical IT knowledge and skills for internal auditors. The study identified a gap between graduates and their employers on what the two constituencies consider important IT knowledge and skills for internal auditors. The study furthermore built on previous work and extended into areas of IT and professional internal auditors in South Africa in ways no other studies have.