Improving skills development in the South African public sector : an internal audit perspective

10 May 2018

Internal auditors have not escaped the skills crisis in South Africa and the need for competent and effective internal auditors in the workplace is increasing. The Institute of Internal Auditors in South Africa (IIA (SA)) has adopted a formal learnership system to develop internal audit competencies in the workplace. Research on internal audit skills development in the public sector is limited. Although the IIA Global issued a competency framework prescribing the specific internal audit competency and skills requirements, the question arises as to how these competencies and skills can be improved in the workplace. The aim of this research is to identify improvement to current skills development programmes for internal auditors in the South African public sector through Kolb’s experiential learning theory as well as the International Education Standards issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). A content analysis identified a number of current skills development programmes for improvement, such as the use of personal development plans, more specific practical experience requirements, formal assessment of competence and a formal mentoring system. This research is valuable not only to internal audit stakeholders in the South African public sector, but also to private sector stakeholders who consider enhancing internal audit skills and competencies through formal learnership programmes.