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Graduate Management Trainee - My Time in Audit

Being an NHS Graduate Management Trainee on the Finance scheme I’ve been fortunate enough to undergo a 3 month placement with the Audit Yorkshire Team based here in York.

My initial thoughts of internal Audit were somewhat misinformed and distorted. I was under the impression that internal audit was a burden, a waste of limited resources, a watch dog to inform you how bad you are at your job and the most tedious job in any organisation. When I first started my thoughts were confirmed as I spent the majority of the day researching, reading policies, documents and previous Audit reports. This as many new starters will concur is very mind-numbing and boring. This went on for several days. But looking back I think this was essential to building the foundations of understanding and definitely worth mentioning to new starters that the knowledge accumulated will come in handy.

Just as I concluded I was correct in my assumptions, I was invited to assist on a Financial Reporting Audit and this is where things began to get interesting. I accompanied one of our Auditors to meet with some senior staff members. I was invited to participate by asking any questions that would aid in the Audit but I chose to just take the minutes, fear of looking inexperienced and this in turn reflecting badly on the Audit team.

As time went on I was invited to more and more meetings, I quickly became increasingly vocal and inquisitive. I then had the opportunity to get some hands on experience with our IG Guru with the new Data Security Protection Toolkit (DSPT) Audits. She invited me to accompany her on a trip to a client’s hospital and this really bought the Auditing process to life. When I came back from the meeting all the hours spent in front of the computer screen at the start of the placement suddenly began to click, all the strange jargon that seemed like old English began to make sense. Researching and reading the documents supplied suddenly became less tedious and strangely satisfying, especially when you find exactly what you’re looking for. At times it seemed like trying to finding a needle in a haystack. I started to have more and more responsibilities with the DSPT Audits which made me became more and more engaged and dare I say excited about the Audits. Not exited enough to arrive in the office before 8am but positive nonetheless.  I think this is where I caught the Audit bug and really changed my mind about the initial assumptions I had about Audit.

The most difficult challenge I faced whilst on this placement, after the initial hurdle was having to quickly become an expert in the Audit and then juggling multiple organisations all at the same time. I was fortunate enough to have many of them doing the same DSPT Audit. I can definitely appreciate how difficult it must be to have to switch from the mind of one Audit to a completely different Audit at the ring of a phone.

From my experienced on this placement I have encouraged my fellow colleagues on the graduate scheme to get really involved in the Auditing process at their organisations. It is a great learning opportunity. I thought I would just learn about Auditing and the internal Audit function but an amazing by-product was the in depth knowledge I accumulated in Information Governance which will undoubtedly come in handy throughout the remaining year on the scheme and beyond. I got a brief insight into common organisational issues, organisation structures, some fantastic examples in leadership and some not so great examples both in which I take lessons away from.

The main thing I will take away from this placement is a fond appreciation for internal Audit. I now understand the value Internal Audit can add to an organisation not just financial but also time saving and efficiency. When the time comes for me to be on the receiving end of an Audit I vow to be very helpful, transparent and quick to send supporting evidence.

A big thank you to the Audit Yorkshire team for being so accommodating and providing such a great placement.