Sample Essay on Reflective Diary on Greater London Authority’s Internal Audit

Introduction

This paper presents my reflection on the internal audit course with regard to how I can apply the knowledge gained in my future career. The reflection is concerned with the assignments give, the course material and the group activities that were meant to enhance the learning process.  Driscoll cycle of reflection is the best in evaluating the effectiveness of taking the audit course.  It helps one to reflect on an issue in a systematic way that ensures all aspects of the issue are considered. This is evident in the way the cycle begins with describing the event so that one is able to analyze all the actions. The next phase involves analyzing the event, a factor that allows one to identify any gaps in the course. The cycle ends with proposed actions that one should take with regard to new knowledge gained from the activity.

Question 1

Patch 2

Internal Audit Practice

What?
My objectives of the study 1.     To understand the reasons for carrying out the internal audit at GLA

2.     To explore the reasons for carrying out audit on internal processing for assurance purpose

3.     To understand the main reasons for carrying out audit on the payroll process

4.     To evaluate the activities involved in payroll audit

5.     To explore the major techniques used in audit testing

6.     To understand the main reasons for carrying out quality review assurance

What did I learn  Reasons for carrying out internal audit at GLA

–        The organization’s expenditure on the employees was becoming expensive by the days.  The average monthly cost of paying the employees that the organization incurred in the 2009-2010 period was $ 2.3 million, which is quite high.

Assurance needs for carrying out payroll audit

–        It is a way of maintaining the professional ethics required by the IPPF.

–        The audit ensures proper communication between the audit team and the departments in the organization.

–        It helps assess whether there is need for the company to raise the wage level of the employees.

–        It helps evaluate the recruitment policy of the company to ascertain if there is need for amendments of the same.

Main reasons  for carrying out audit on payroll process

–        To ensure accuracy of the payroll records maintained by an organization

–        To ensure that the payroll process is consistent with the laws and regulations of the country as well as the company’s objectives.

Activities involved in payroll audit

–        Verification of the available data on the number of employees to determine the actual number of present employees including starters an excluding the ones who have left the company.

–        Verification of available data on timing and attendance of employees.

–        Checking if there are any changes in the organization’s payroll policy and if implementation has been made if needed.

Techniques for testing audit

–        Sampling audit of payroll audit through CAAT.

–        Control check of the company’s payroll cycle.

Reasons for carrying out assurance review

–        Providing greater value to the company.

–        To ensure that the quality procedures and recording are consistent with the IPPF and company’s objectives.

 

Which IPPF standards does this apply to? The internal audit practice is governed by the IPPF on quality assurance and improvement program on internal assessment (code 1311).
So what?
Did I meet the set objectives by carrying out the activity? Yes. This is because I now have a clear understanding of the audit processes including the main objectives and desired outcome for the activity.
Is this applicable in my current area of study? Learning about internal audit practice is useful in my current area of study because it enhances my financial knowledge with regard to maintenance of accurate books of accounts.
How will this be applicable in my future work? In my future career, the knowledge gained will help me execute my duties effectively because I will have a clear understanding of what audit practice entails and the IPPF standards that guide the practice.
Now What?
What other actions has this prompted? I realized that the field of audit is wider than I thought and there is a lot more to learn so as to improve my accounting skills. I intend to take a course that specializes in audit.

 

Patch 3

Test plans for GLA’s payroll internal audit

What?
My objectives of the activity –        To understand the main test plans for the payroll process’ internal audit.

–        To explore the main preventative, detective and corrective test plans for the activity.

–        To evaluate the risks associated with payroll process.

–        To explore the main controls associated with payroll processes.

 

What lessons did I learn? Main test plans

–        Preventative tests aimed at ensuring that the possible risks that an organization faces do not occur.

–        Detective tests aimed at mitigating the risks that a company faces as well as identifying the major threats that a company faces.

Purposes of the test plans

–        Preventative test plan aims at examining whether the payroll records are accurate.

–        Detective test plans aim at identifying any errors in the in the payroll records.

–        Corrective test plans are meant to detect any unauthorized payments made by the department.

Major risks associated with test plans

–        Preventative test plan is associated with the risk of inaccurate payroll records that affects the overall performance of the organization.

–        Errors in payroll data input presents the main risk with detective test plans.

–        The failure to identify errors such as unauthorized payments by the company is the major risk associated with corrective test plans.

Major controls of the test plans

–        Preventative test plan control involves separating duties performed by the staff such that the person who inputs data is not the one who authorizes the same.

–        To enhance the effectiveness of detective audit, it is important to carry out audit of all payroll disbursements.

–        For the corrective test plans, it is crucial to ensure accuracy of payroll records.

Which IPPF standards does this apply to? The activity is guided by quality assurance of internal environment of a business (code 1300).
So What?
Did the activity meet my objectives? Yes it did. I am now able to distinguish the different features of preventative, detective and corrective test plans.
How is this applicable in my studies? Learning about audit test plans has expanded my knowledge on how to attain accuracy in accounting.
What are the future plans of applying the knowledge gained in the workplace? In my future career I hope to apply the knowledge on audit test plans to improve my accounting skills by minimizing errors. I will also apply the knowledge to identify any possible challenge that an institution may experience with regard to accounting records.
Now What?
What other training do I need with regard to the knowledge I have gained on audit plans? To enhance my knowledge on audit test plans and the risks involved I will carry out more secondary research by studying more texts on the same.

 

Patch 4

Reflective diary

What?
What is the main objective of having a reflective diary? 1.     To enhance my understanding on all the learning outcomes in the module.

2.     To evaluate the effectiveness of the study materials provided.

3.     To identify the link between the knowledge gained in the course and the working and study experience.

4.     To evaluate the extent to which the final audit report complies with the IPPF standards.

What did I learn from the reflective diary?  Outcome on internal audit practice

–        The reflection enhanced my knowledge on various aspects involved in internal audit such as audit assurance, testing techniques and audit evidence.

Outcome of audit test plans

–        The reflection on this enhanced my understanding on the types of test plans, risks and controls associated with the plans.

–        The reflection on the test plans also improved my interest in audit test and I was able to identify the knowledge gaps that I need to fill through extensive research on the test plans.

Final report’s compliance with IPPF

–        The ability of the report to communicate the results of internal audit is a way of meeting the IPPF requirement on performance standards.

–        The report was based on representative sampling that indicates integrity, one of the core principles of IPPF.

–        However, the report is not compliant with IPPF to some extent because it fails to meet the requirement of assurance by failing to recommend the method of communication to be used in passing information to other departments of the organization such as the human resources.

What happened? I carried out a reflection of the audit assignment to evaluate the extent to which I understood the learning materials provided and the activities I was involved in.
So what?
What was good and bad? –        The lecture materials were effective in establishing knowledge on purpose of internal audit and the activities involved.

–        The bad side of the reflection is that it did not address all my needs due to information gaps.

What were my feelings and thoughts during the reflection? I felt contented after reflecting on internal audit as I am now able to determine the actions to take to ensure I understand all the activities involved.
Now What?
Overall  opinion Reflection is an important aspect in enhancing one’s understanding as it helps identify any information gaps.

 

Question 2

Reflection on the content of lecture notes

  1. Quality assurance procedures for internal audit

 

What?
My objectives of the activity 1.     To analyze the purpose of quality assurance

2.     To analyze the assurance needs of internal and external stakeholders

3.     To explore the roles and responsibilities of internal audit activity.

What lessons did I learn? Purpose of quality assurance

–        The notes on purpose of quality assurance were informative though quite shallow. I was surprised to realize that quality assurance helped in meeting part of the IPPF standards relating to objectivity.

Assurance needs of internal and external stakeholders

–        I was aware that the internal auditors can advise a department accordingly but I underestimated the scope of the consultancy function. It surprised me to learn that the consultancy is mostly conducted in an informal way.

Roles and responsibilities of internal audit activity

–        The lecture material did not provide new insights into the knowledge that I already had on the roles and responsibilities of internal audit activity. While working at Barclays bank, I learnt most of the roles of internal auditors.

Which IPPF standards does this apply to? Maintenance of quality assurance and improvement program covering all the aspect of internal audit.
So What?
Did the reflection meet the desired objectives? –        I would not recommend students who do not have a background in audit to use the lecture material on quality assurance for internal auditors because the content is shallow.

–        The lecture material on consultancy helped me gain new insights about audit.

–         Students with some knowledge on audit function may not find the material on audit charter relevant because it highlights the basic concepts of internal audit.

What is the significance of the reflection to my future activities at work? In future I visualize my career as an accountant being one of the most satisfying experiences I have had ain life. I will ensure that all the audit procedures are followed to enhance accuracy of the accounting records.
Now What?
What other actions has the reflection prompted? The reflection has made me realize that although I have some knowledge on audit, I still need more experience on the same.

 

  1. The benefits and challenges of developing and communicating the internal audit charter
What?
My objectives of the activity 1.     To evaluate the resources needed to carry out an internal audit effectively

2.     To explore the communication techniques applicable in internal audit.

What lessons did I learn? Resources needed in internal audit

–        As opposed to what I thought about the content of the lecture material on IA structure the major factors addressed did not discuss the major resources rather they were about the basic concepts of audit.

Communication techniques in internal audit

–        The structure of internal audit was more detailed than I expected.

Which IPPF standards does this apply to? IPPF code 1000 that requires an organization’s charter to be consistent with the ethical guidelines of internal audit.
So What?
Did the reflection meet the desired objectives? The reflection met the desired objectives by expanding my knowledge on importance of complying with IPPF.
What is the significance of the reflection to my future activities at work? In future my career will be easier with background knowledge on authority of internal audit.
Now What?
What other actions has the reflection prompted? Through the reflection I realized that the materials lacked case studies on the authority of internal audit thus I have a task f looking for case studies applicable in internal audit.

 

Question 3

Interpersonal and communication skills

What?
My objectives of the activity 1.     To explore the impact of audit communication to the relationship between  auditors and customers

 

What lessons did I learn? –        I learnt that communication of audit results is a process and not just a onetime activity. The auditor must be systematic so as to address all the relevant results obtained.

–        I also learnt the importance of communication through my group activities. Holding a picture, I requested one of the group members to draw the picture without looking at me but he had to rely on my description and this affected the accuracy of their drawing. The exercise made me realize that no matter how much effort one puts in an activity, it is impossible to get the desired outcome if they do not communicate effectively.  When something is described, it is likely for one to miss out some important details as opposed to when one is allowed to explore something on their own.

 

Which IPPF standards does this apply to? 2400 on communicating audit results.
So What?
What is good or bad? -The good thing about communicating audit results is that it is a management tool that has a positive impact on the performance of the company.  The learning and listening activities were efficient in improving my communication skills.

– The bad thing is that the lecture material on communication did not discuss how communication barriers can be avoided.

How is this applicable in future work? This will enhance my communication skills in my future accounting career.
Now What?
What other actions has the reflection prompted? The reflection has made me realize that my communication skills need an improvement thus I will be involved in more activities that enhance the same.
Overall opinion Communication of audit results is very important without which the whole activity is meaningless. The communication assures the parties involved of the commitment of the organization to meet their needs.