Diploma in Public Audit Log of workplace experience – a guide O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. Contents 1 Introduction and summary of requirements 2 The record of workplace experience 3 General reflection on your learning experience 4 Producing and presenting your log of workplace experience Appendices A Examples of workplace experience B Record of workplace experience C Example of overall reflective commentary O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. 1 Introduction and summary of requirements This document provides guidance on the Log of Workplace Experience required to be produced by students studying for CIPFA’s Diploma in Public Audit (DPA) qualification. Students are expected to produce this log in addition to studying the taught programme, writing the required assignments and sitting the required examinations. The Log of Workplace Experience reflects CIPFA’s emphasis on the development of practical skills within the workplace to complement the more theoretical knowledge and techniques you will learn through the DPA taught course. Workplace learning is important because, increasingly, employers require new members of staff who can demonstrate previous workplace experience. Staff must demonstrate that they are able to take the outcomes from study (knowledge) and apply them appropriately in their place of work (skills). The effect of recent corporate failures has been that the integrity, quality and value of auditors have come under unparalleled scrutiny. It is now necessary for auditors to demonstrate on a continuous basis that they can both provide meaningful assurance and add real value to their client base, whilst maintaining the highest standards of objectivity and professionalism. Successful completion of the DPA, including completion of this Log of Workplace Experience, will allow you to demonstrate your commitment to the quality of the audit service you provide. Completion of the Log of Workplace Experience is not intended to be an onerous task for students. The workplace experience that you record in this log should relate to tasks that form a natural part of your work. We are interested in how you apply your knowledge and skills in your normal, everyday work. You should not see this as an additional task, but as a process of thinking about and documenting the way in which you have applied your learning to the benefit of your employer and yourself. The following table provides a checklist as to what your log must contain and indicates where further guidance is located within this document. Checklist of Log of Workplace Experience Contents CONTENT COMPLETED? Title page giving your name and CIPFA candidate number A record of 50 days of workplace experience undertaken over the training period. This should be presented on the form contained in Appendix B. Further guidance can be found in section 2. An overall reflective commentary on your learning experiences during your training period. This should include a summary of your future learning goals. Further guidance can be found in section 3 and an example can be found in Appendix C. O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. 2 The record of workplace experience In this section of your log, you will record details of 50 days of validated workplace experience you have undertaken as you progress towards completing the DPA. This record of workplace experience is also designed to help you focus on your training and development needs. Details of the types of experience you could record are given in Appendix A. The suggested examples in Appendix A are for guidance only and you may wish to undertake some other appropriate tasks or projects. The work you undertake in your workplace in order to complete the two assignments can be included towards the 50 days. A simple framework for the recording and validation of your workplace experience is given in Appendix B. It is important to keep good records of your learning. These records are valuable as they provide you with a permanent reminder of the workplace experience you have gained, and of your learning throughout the process. They also provide a useful summary of your experience, which may be of value if you are seeking promotion or changing jobs. In Appendix B you will find the form to be used in recording and validating workplace experience days. In order to help you to complete this form, an example extract of a completed record is provided. The blank form should be photocopied as many times as required. This record should account for all of the required 50 days. It is this record that must be included in your Log of Workplace Experience. Your employer is required to validate each task you have undertaken. CIPFA trusts the employer to assess the progress made by students within their own organisation. The judgement of the employing organisation is accepted as to whether the student has achieved a satisfactory level of performance in workplace training. Should you choose to continue your studies with CIPFA, by going on to study for the Professional Accountancy Qualification, the work experience recorded in this logbook can be included as part of the workplace experience requirements of the professional qualification. This means that, having already recorded 50 days as part of your DPA qualification, you will be well on the way to achieving the 400 days of validated workplace experience requirements of the professional qualification. Further information on the workplace requirements of the professional qualification can be found on CIPFA’s website at http://www.cipfa.org.uk/eandt/current/ipd.cfm. CIPFA strongly recommends that you aim to achieve as wide a spread of workplace experiences as possible during your period of training. This will be particularly important if you go on to pursue CIPFA’s professional qualification, where you will be required to spend a minimum amount of time in a specified number of areas of expertise. Further information on these areas of expertise can be found on CIPFA’s website at www.cipfa.org.uk/members/expertise.cfm. You should start to record your workplace experience as soon as you commence your DPA studies. Even if you have successfully passed the examinations and assignments, the DPA award will not be made until the logbook has been received and reviewed by CIPFA. Logbooks will not be assessed but will be checked for completion of days, employer validation and inclusion of your reflective commentary. O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. 3 The reflective commentary As well as the record of workplace experience, you are required to write a reflective commentary of around 500 words in which you should reflect on how well you have applied your knowledge and skills in the workplace. You should write your reflective commentary towards the end of your studies, when you have completed your 50 days of workplace experience. Although this reflective commentary should be undertaken towards the end of the period of study, you will find it helpful to reflect on individual tasks and experiences, shortly after they have been completed. The record sheet at Appendix B provides space for you to write a brief comment, which will serve as an aide memoire for the overall reflective commentary. CIPFA requires the inclusion of reflection in the log of workplace experience because it is widely agreed that individuals learn by experiences as a result of going through a cycle of learning and part of that cycle includes reflecting on our experiences. Writing about an experience allows you to explore a number of concepts and thought processes without losing sight of the whole experience. In addition, taking time to write gives you additional time to reflect. In a busy work environment, if you do not take time out to write about your experiences, you will not reflect upon them sufficiently and what you have learned may be lost to your future practice. Writing reflectively also helps you to understand how you learn and in what situations your learning is most effective. This aids the transfer of your learning from one context to another. The overall reflective commentary is not supposed to be a critique of the taught DPA course. Instead, it should focus on how you have applied your learning in the workplace. You and your experiences are the subject of the reflective writing, which means that you can, and should, write in the first person. You can refer to what I did or what my feelings or reactions were to an experience. It does not matter if you feel negative about aspects of your workplace experience. An important part of reflective writing is the ability to attend to your feelings. Positive feelings about a learning experience can encourage you to continue with your learning and development, especially if you are faced with something that is new, complex and challenging. Negative feelings, on the other hand, can act as a barrier to learning. If you have been asked to undertake a task new to you in the workplace and you believe you have not completed it successfully you may feel embarrassed by this apparent failure. These negative feelings of embarrassment may prevent you examining and reflecting on what happened and what may have gone wrong. You probably would prefer to forget the whole episode. However if you do this you deny yourself the opportunity of discovering what went wrong and why. You will therefore not learn from this experience and you will try to resist undertaking a similar task in the future. Taking time to explore your feelings and reactions to an experience can help your learning. Recognising the positive feelings will encourage you to continue learning and developing in new areas. Negative feelings should be explored with the aim of removing their possible debilitating effects. If you were embarrassed by your apparent failure why was this? Could you avoid this embarrassment in the future by approaching the task in a different way? Ignoring the problem will not help you to develop. However, with negative feelings, time does have a part to play. If you have felt embarrassed or angry about what has happened do not try to reflect immediately on what has gone wrong, wait for a day or two. You will find that the negativity will have diminished and it will be easier for you to review objectively what took place. You may even find that the whole experience was far more positive than you thought at first. O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. After describing the experience and attending to your feelings associated with the experience, you then need to take time to re-evaluate what happened and what you have learnt. The following questions should help you to write your reflective commentary: How did the theory you were introduced to in your studies influence you in practice? How have you managed to relate your learning experiences during home study or at college to the workplace and vice versa? What factors have influenced, positively and negatively, your learning and development throughout this period? How has your perception of the role of an auditor altered during this period? Have you managed to become a more effective learner? If you have, how was this achieved? When writing your reflective commentary, you must ensure that you do not just give a simple description of events. It must be reflective, and if it is not, then it has not served its purpose. Appendix C provides an example of an overall reflective commentary. O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. 4 Producing and presenting your log of workplace experience Section 1 provides a checklist to help you ensure you have completed all of the requirements of the log of workplace experience. The title page, record of workplace experience (using the form in Appendix B) and the overall reflective commentary should be attached together and submitted to: CIPFA DPA Submissions Office 3 Robert Street London WC2N 6RL When CIPFA receives your log of workplace experience, it will check that: • A record of 50 days of relevant workplace experience has been included; • These workplace experiences have been validated by your employer; • An overall reflective commentary, including future learning goals, has been included. Your admission to CIPFA, and the entitlement to use designatory letters will depend on three elements: • You should have successfully passed the two assignments; • You should have successfully passed all of the module examinations; • You should have submitted your log of workplace experience to CIPFA. Upon successful completion of the three elements described above, (and payment of the appropriate subscription fee) you will receive a certificate from CIPFA as well as a letter confirming your admission to CIPFA, your membership status and your entitlement to use designatory letters. O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. APPENDIX A Examples of workplace experiences This appendix provides some examples of workplace activities to help you to complete your logbook. The suggested examples are for guidance only and you are encouraged to record other workplace experience relevant to the DPA. The workplace experience you carry out in order to complete your assignments can be included in your logbook. Core audit skills Contribute to the analysis of risk within an organisation by, for example, analysing budgets, analysing performance indicators, reading minutes and looking at previous audit reports Contribute to an evaluation of an organisation’s systems of internal control Identify key individuals in your organization and arrange and conduct audit interviews with them Undertake an audit of a financial system Undertake an audit of a non-financial system or service Assist in the investigation of irregularities Financial accounting systems Record transactions by using double entry bookkeeping techniques, for example preparing for the input of a creditors batch and control total and preparing journal transfers Complete and present reconciliations of budget adjustments Managing the audit cycle Plan an audit assignment including obtaining background information, the evidence to be collected, determining the approach to be applied and devising a test strategy Contribute to the development of an annual audit plan that addresses the risks inherent in an organisation’s operations and addresses client needs Monitor progress against the audit plan assignment Present the results of an audit to key individuals within an audited department Undertake an audit of a computerised system Innovation and assurance Assist in a performance audit by (for example) benchmarking the audited service against comparable providers Identify and review an organisation’s (or part thereof) governance framework, making recommendations for any improvements Compare an organisation’s policies on ethical behaviour to best practice O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. Contribute to the review of an organisation’s compliance with its contracting and tendering procedures Financial Reporting Update the year end close down timetable Prepare a trial balance Contribute to the preparation of a selection of external financial statements for an organisation, for example, cash flow statements, balance sheets, trading accounts and revenue accounts Prepare a set of notes to year end accounts Use ratio analyses to assess the financial health of an organisation, including comparisons against organisations in the same and similar environments Analyse and interpret an organisation’s performance for a given service against published comparative statistics including, for example, graphical or diagrammatic representations of information Develop (or appraise should one exist) a set of performance measures for an organisation’s (or part thereof) corporate plan Identify and appraise the budget preparation process for an organisation (or part thereof), making recommendations for improvement Identify and evaluate the provision of internal budgetary control information used within an organisation (or part thereof), and make recommendations for improving information for budget holders O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. APPENDIX B Record of workplace experience Name: Student Number: Organisation: Employe Description of Workplace What has been learned and how may it be No. of Dates r’s Experience used? days Initials O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. - 11 - APPENDIX B Record of workplace experience Name: Student Number: Organisation: No. of Employer’s Dates Description of Workplace Experience What has been learned and how may it be used? days Initials EXAMPLE EXTRACT Sep 2006 Assisted in Finance’s review of budgetary Understanding the work of other departments can help 10 control arrangements. me to become a better auditor. Oct 2006 Undertook an audit of a financial system Better understanding of systems based auditing and why 7 as part of the Core Audit Skills substantive testing is sometimes necessary. assignment. Nov 2006 Prepared a draft report on the findings of It is important to discuss audit findings with relevant 2 the above audit and discussed with personnel to confirm factual accuracy and to avoid them relevant personnel. receiving unwelcome ‘surprises’. Dec 2006 Prepared a draft annual internal audit Better understanding of risk assessment and the need to 5 plan. take account of others’ views and experiences. Feb 2007 Assisted in a review of the systems in When devising performance indicators for internal use, in 4 place to collect performance indicators future, we should be mindful of the systems required to data. be put in place to collect the data required to produce the indicators. O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc. - 12 - APPENDIX C Example overall reflective commentary Reflection on Learning Experience When I started studying for the DPA, I had already been working as an internal auditor for two years. During that time, I found some of the tasks I had been asked to perform (such as substantive testing) quite pointless and I therefore found it difficult to motivate myself. Studying for the DPA has given me a much greater understanding of systems based auditing and I now understand why substantive testing is sometimes necessary. On reflection, I realise that I need to understand why I am doing something – what the point of it is – in order to motivate myself to carry out the task well. This realisation has meant that I am now much better at questioning my manager about given tasks and I now get greater job satisfaction from understanding what it is I am supposed to be doing and why. My organisation’s Finance department has been short-staffed for as long as I have been an employee within the Internal Audit function. The Finance department has been undertaking a review of budgetary control arrangements and, because of the lack of resources in their department, my manager agreed to provide me as a resource to help out with the budgetary control review. When I first found out about this, I was really annoyed. I could not see why I should have to help out Finance or what benefit there would be for me in having to do this work. On reflection, however, I realise that involvement with this piece of work, together with my studies in relation to budgeting and budgetary control, has not only given me an insight into the work of the Finance department, but has also made me a better auditor. I have a much better understanding of how the budget setting and monitoring process fits into my organisation’s overall management arrangements, and consequently, why it is that auditors seek to place reliance on such processes. I now realise that the work of an auditor is much more wide reaching than I had previously imagined. In terms of my studies, I found I struggled with the financial accounting subjects and with time management, struggling to get my first assignment submitted within the deadline. I found that I worked and studied far more productively in short, bounded time periods and the need to do other things, outside work and study was important. Once I learnt this, I managed to get to grips with managing my time and was able to resume my life outside work and study. At work, I am about to be promoted and will have responsibility for managing two other staff. My future learning goals include: • Managing others • Devolving and controlling tasks • Time management training for work-based tasks O:\E_T\E&T-Ops\Student Assessment\EXAMINATIONS\DPA\FINAL logbook Sep 06.doc.
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