Auditing project makes “cents” for accounting students
Metropolitan State College of Denver continues to think creatively to maintain high-quality programs in the face of growing cuts in higher education funding from the state.
One of the areas pegged for cost-cutting for the College was internal auditing. By eliminating a full-time staff auditor, the College saved more than $40,000 in annual salary costs associated with the position while providing an invaluable experience to more than 25 students taking an Advanced Auditing course with affiliate faculty member Joe Giordano and Accounting Professor Christine Noel.
The concept of the course was developed by a team of faculty and staff and presented to President Stephen Jordan and the Metro State Board of Trustees for review and approval prior to the actual development of the course. The course was designed to provide students with real experience, ranging from forensic document analysis to developing audit recommendations that they would present to the Metro State Board of Trustee’s Finance Subcommittee.
"I can't say enough about what my students have accomplished through their work. I would put their reports up against (those of) any audit firm in town,” says Giordano.
Given the choice to develop a case study or perform an actual audit on the College, all the students selected to participate in an actual audit. Five teams of five to six students audited five areas: the Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, graduate programs, financial aid, cashier’s office and program fees.
“Typically, a first year auditor out of college works on their own. The advantage of the class is….all students learned from each other's mistakes. They all now have a real audit under their belt and have a leg up on other recent graduates seeking employment," said Giordano.
The students were even charged with delivering an oral presentation on their completed audits to the Finance Subcommittee on Tuesday, April 20. ”I was really impressed,” Trustee Ellen Robinson says of the students’ presentation. Final written recommendations from the audit will be made during the last weeks of the semester.
"All the students were very engaged and took their role very seriously. They learned a lot,” says Giordano. “They commented that what they thought was involved in an audit was completely different prior to the class than following."
In the fall of 2010, Metro State plans to add a master’s in accountancy program and it’s likely that a new Advanced Auditing course will eventually become part of that program.
Staying ahead of the curve is not new for Metro State’s accounting undergraduates. Students who recently took the Certified Financial Planning Board certification exam demonstrated a 61 percent pass rate, which is above the national average of 54 percent.
Read the students’ take on the auditing project in a May 17 Denver Post article.