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Soft skills development in entry-level internal auditors: perspectives from practising internal auditors, students and facilitators in South Africa

Johannes Cornelius Steyn (Department of Accounting and Auditing, Faculty of Management Sciences, Central University of Technology Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 8 August 2020

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

literature and research internationally indicate a lack of sufficient facilitation of soft skills development in entry-level internal auditors (internal audit graduates upon entering the workplace), although it is essential for entry-level internal auditors to be able to apply soft skills effectively. The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which these international views and findings on soft skills development are evident in South Africa according to practising internal auditors, students and facilitators. Comparisons are also drawn between the perceptions of practising internal auditors, students and facilitators.

Design/methodology/approach

Purposive sampling was used, and data were collected using a structured questionnaire and an interview survey with quantitative analysis.

Findings

In general, the results concur with the literature in terms of the lack of sufficient facilitation and the importance of soft skills development in entry-level internal auditors in South Africa for all three groups. Significant differences were also found between some of the perceptions of practising internal auditors, students and facilitators.

Practical implications

This study benefits internal audit employers, students and facilitators because soft skills are an in-demand graduate attribute and the application of alternative teaching–learning activities to develop students' soft skills also promotes deep learning through student engagement.

Originality/value

The identification of the 21 soft skills categories from the literature, which should be developed in entry-level internal auditors, has not been researched before as well as the perspectives of students and facilitators in South Africa on soft skills development.

Keywords

Citation

Steyn, J.C. (2021), "Soft skills development in entry-level internal auditors: perspectives from practising internal auditors, students and facilitators in South Africa", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 528-544. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-06-2020-0129

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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