Javier Quintana, the director general of the Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España (ICJCE), talks about their initiative to attract young people to the audit profession by giving them a valuable day out they’ll never forget.
In Spain, there is a war for talent in the labour market, especially in attracting and keeping younger people. We are in a critical moment where the best university students or the most brilliant recent graduates have doubts of becoming auditors. The accountancy profession here has an old-fashioned image working long hours with outdated technology and no personal life.
But this isn’t the reality. Audit is changing rapidly, becoming a dynamic and sophisticated profession that holds a lot of promise for younger generations who crave new ways of working, and we want to show this to them. Through our ‘Auditor for a Day’ initiative we’re trying to change the way young people view the profession.
A day spent in the audit division of participating firms was our method to show young people the modern audit profession. The firms could also meet young talent and explain how their futures would be if they joined the company.
The younger generation wants to work closely with technological disruption, they want innovation, to work in strong teams, to work flexibly. A day embedded in an audit team – meeting clients, seeing how different businesses operate, seeing how sophisticated technology is being deployed during an audit, the level of analysis that’s being done, and the importance given to team work – is an opportunity to cast off the old image and dispel misconceptions about the modern audit profession.
We started the initiative in Madrid and Cataluña in 2007 and 3 more regions joined in the last two years. Over 1,100 students and graduates from 20 university partners have taken part in our project so far. They have been hosted by Spanish firms of all sizes.
And it’s working. Many people who have already attended ‘Auditor for a Day’ have gone on to join that firm in their audit departments. We’re working to enlarge the initiative and roll it out across all Spanish regions so it can become a reference, an inspiration for young people to become auditors.
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