By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Making sense of all the changes the modern accounting professional faces isn’t easy. Those who take on the responsibility need to corral the ever-changing herd of transformative innovations into the pen of traditional knowledge. The 51st American Accounting Association/Deloitte Foundation Robert M. Trueblood Seminars for Professors underscored the importance of innovation in developing tomorrow’s CPAs recently. We spoke with several participants including an Assistant Professor from Virginia Tech, the Executive Director of the Deloitte Foundation and a Partner in Deloitte’s External Audit practice who presented on this subject at the event.
Kathy Shoztic is the Executive Director of the Deloitte Foundation and she connected all the dots about their active role in helping to develop the future talent of the accounting profession.
“The Deloitte Foundation has partnered with the American Accounting Association (AAA) to sponsor these seminars which have been around for more than 50 years,” she said. “The strategic intent behind them is to connect faculty and practice by providing tools and insights to participating professors that they can take back to the classroom to better prepare students.”
These Robert M. Trueblood Seminars for Professors have been held annually since 1966 under the auspices of the Deloitte Foundation. They were joined by the AAA in 1975 and more than 2,200 professors have attended since their inception. This recent event was hosted at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas and took place from Feb 17-20 and March 16-19.
Auditing innovation and the strong technical skills needed today in areas like data analytics and visualization were a focal point of the seminars this year. William Bible, a Partner in the External
Audit practice, Deloitte & Touche LLP, took up that mantle when he presented.
“We really tried to talk to the professors this year about the pace of change in technology and what their students might encounter when they first join the workforce,” he said. “We spoke a lot about data analytics and some of the new tools that Deloitte is bringing to the forefront.”
He also elaborated about the usefulness of visualization and advanced data analytics as the kind of tandem tools that provide clients with deeper and more insightful audit results and how
specialists would impact audit engagements in the future.
Insights and Smarter Audits
“We also touched on the need for students to understand the ways to manipulate and take the data provided to them and use it in a way to provide insights and smarter audits,” he said. “Data analytics help us to focus our attention better and on the higher risk areas we audit.”
Sarah E. Stein is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech and former audit manager at Deloitte. She supplied some helpful insights from the end-user perspective. She stressed how the real world examples presented by practitioners like Bible provide invaluable lessons to take back to
“He provided examples of how Deloitte was using innovative tools in their audits. It allowed me to take those real-world issues back to my auditing class and show the students as we hit on different topics how you might think about data usage, analytics and audit innovation to make better inferences on issues like risk assessment.”
The Deloitte Foundation’s Trueblood Case Study Series, includes around 50 accounting and auditing cases. It can be found online for faculty use here.