Level III - Beginning In-Charge Staff Training
What is Expected of the In-Charge - Participants first build a composite list of the responsibilities of an effective in-charge based on their firmsâ€™ practices. The list is then used as a basis for discussing the kinds of actions that participants can take to improve their chances for achieving success in their firms.
Plan Engagements - The in-chargeâ€™s responsibilities for engagement planning are the focal points for this session. The steps that should be followed in proper planning are identified through the use of a case. This is followed by a discussion of the deterrents to planning that exist in actual practice and identification of ways to partially or fully overcome the deterrents. The emphasis in the entire planning session is on how to plan more effectively in order to improve the efficiency and quality of the engagement.
Assess Risk and Materiality - The major case in this module requires participants to (1) determine planning and performance materiality (2) assess engagement risk, inherent risk and control risk and then (3) link these results to the audit procedures needed to reduce detection risk for specific accounts to an appropriate level. Emphasis is placed on minimizing engagement cost while still performing a high-quality audit. The final case requires participants to assess the risk of fraud, including conducting a fraud brainstorming session for a typical client.
Nonstatistical Audit Sampling - Nonstatistical audit sampling concepts are typically difficult for participants to apply to audit engagements. This module begins with a discussion on properly applying audit standards. In a case continued from the previous module, participants practice making correct sampling decisions for the audit of one major financial statement account. The final case illustrates the concept of projecting sample misstatements to the population, including the consideration of sampling error.
Meet Client Needs - One purpose of this session is to illustrate the four primary elements of effective selling and how these elements can be used by in-charges to help the firm sell additional services to existing clients. Using the conclusions reached, a general discussion is held about how to use management letters as a client relations and sales tool. There is specific discussion on the purposes of management letters, elements of effective letters, development of management letter ideas and writing better letters.
Complete Engagements - Inexperienced in-charges typically have difficulty completing an engagement. This session is designed to give them ideas and teach them how to do a better job in that area. Early problem identification, tying up loose ends throughout the engagement, early review of assistantsâ€™ work and self-review are stressed as ways to reduce completing-the-engagement difficulties.
Review Assistants Work - This session emphasizes identifying objectives and developing a methodology in reviewing assistants working papers. Early review, proper documentation and effective communication of review notes are essential parts of the discussion. A major case provides practice in reviewing a section of a set of working papers.
Supervision - Supervision and motivation of assistants is introduced in this program to help participants understand the importance of good supervision and to teach them some on-the-job supervision techniques. Fundamental characteristics of good supervisors and common characteristics found in poor supervisors are identified through a series of short case studies. These topics are further developed in our next two levels of training: Level IV - Supervisory: Management & Leadership Essentials and Level V - Supervisory Plus: Advanced Management & Leadership Essentials.
To enable experienced staff to advance more quickly to higher levels of responsibility and to become more profitable to their firms by helping them better plan and efficiently complete audits, supervise staff, review working papers and interact with partners and clients.
Bonnie Kennedy, CPA, licensed as a CPA in Rhode Island, is a Group Practice Leader for Kaplan Financial Education and AHI Associates. Bonnie has more than 30 yearsâ€™ experience in the accounting profession. She began her career in public practice with a regional accounting firm in New England, before taking a position as the Controller and Treasurer of a manufacturing firm. Currently, Bonnie is a full-time faculty member at Salve Regina University. She has taught accounting and auditing courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. She holds a BS degree in Business Administration and a MS degree in Accounting from the University of Rhode Island. During her association with the regional CPA firm, Bonnie was involved in recruiting, interviewing, and mentoring new staff. She also designed and conducted continuing professional education programs for the firm. After initial exposure to both taxation and attestation work, Bonnie eventually specialized in audits of manufacturing companies and not-for-profit entities. She has published articles in scholarly journals, and presented her work at national conferences. She has served on the Board of Directors for several not-for-profit entities, and currently serves as the Treasurer for her local youth soccer association. She is a member of the Rhode Island Society of CPAs, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and the AICPA.