During the spring 2017 semester, 80 students in three sections of the Jenkins MAC Program’s Advanced Auditing class gained real world experience that assisted the regional accounting firm Cherry Bekaert in advancing their audit methodology.
In this project-based learning experience, the students reviewed typical audit assignments given to Cherry Bekaert’s entry level auditors. The goal of the auding class project was to help the firm determine if the information provided is understandable by the entry level auditors.
Jonathan Kraftchick, director at Cherry Bekaert, had brought the project to Scott Showalter, Poole College accounting professor who teaches the Advanced Auditing course.
As the semester progressed, students in each class section performed a series of tasks with information traditionally provided to entry level auditors and provided Cherry Bekaert with the results of the procedures and what they didn’t understand about each assignment.
Kraftchick said that the students in Professor Showalter’s class “gave us the ability to recreate the thoughts of a brand new staff member. Essentially, we were trying to determine exactly where recent graduates get confused and design our process and instructions to address those areas.”
After students in each class section completed their assigned tasks, Kraftchick and Tara Edwards, a Cherry Bekaert partner, spoke with the students, to understand where they struggled and to receive their recommendations for improvements.
“We really valued the feedback and candid responses from the students,” Edwards said.
Professor Showalter said, “When Jonathan approached me, I was not sure how the semester would go. As the semester unfolded, this experience turned into a great win-win. Cherry Bekaert is getting some very specific feedback about their audit programs and instructions, and the students are gaining first-hand knowledge about how to conduct audit procedures and document results – not to mention a grade for their efforts.”
“This real world assignment is just one example of how students think and do in the course of their studies at the NC State Poole College of Management,” Showalter said.
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