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Price waterhouse Coopers (PwC) Guarantee Operating Functions

The assurance type of service in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) deals fundamentally with the audit of financial statements for both statutory and regulatory purposes, as well as, accountants' records for legal purposes. It includes of five functioning models. The Operating Product One and Two focus on insurance, real house, pharmaceutical and life sciences. Operating Product Three focuses on transportation, logistics, Administration, Energy, Resources and Mining. Operating Product Four focuses on technology, and specialised areas such as financial services Practice, whereas the fifth operating device (OU5), where I was attached to, deals mainly with small and medium companies (SMEs) (PricewaterhouseCoopers Singapore, 2010).

Structure and manpower of the Department

The framework of the team was designed in a manner that the staff from the lower ranks are accountable to their seniors or professionals of the next rank. With all the upsurge in portfolios from the previous year, the business has been broadening their intake of high calibre applicants to join the profession. By Dec 2010, the effectiveness of the office was 132, being helped by 5 administrative staff. The organisation graph of the division is organized in Appendix A.

The applications found in the division were both basic and specialised for its functions. For instance, the email application used for communication is "Lotus Notes". Inside our department, the supervisor would choose the team members for his or her engagements via an internet reservation system. Upon verification of the bookings, the administrator would check out update the scheduler "Retain" program and it'll be used by the personnel to keep an eye on their engagements.

In addition, PwC uses "Aura" and "MyClient" to report the audit work done for each and every engagement. "MyClient" was the precedent of Aura that was introduced around 2 yrs ago. The execution of "Aura" boosts the documentation of the client's profile, work done, settings, risks assessments concurrently as well as allowing the simple coaching and opinions from the proposal leader and supervisor to the team members. During the proposal, the team members perform fieldwork at the client's place. These team members will then file the task done and their individual conclusions in Aura. Once they are done, they can draw the task as ready and replicate with the server, so the engagement director can perform review of the task and attach any coaching records if needed.

Lastly, the claims for bills such as taxi fares and charging of time worked would be done using the "iPower" software. iPower allows the personnel to submit their claims and get acceptance from the supervisor in a standard format as the forms were produced electronically.

Performance Signal of the Department

The department finished the twelve months 2010 with a great time. The performance exceeded its prospects as set recently.

In 2010, the team has achieved the next performance:

Diagram 1: Assurance OU5 Financial Statement (Year concluded June 30)

Performance Indicators

July

2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

Monthly Actual Income ($'000)

1, 083

949

847

839

988

960

Billable hours per month

12, 158

9, 868

9, 198

10, 246

9, 456

10, 977

Key obstacles facing the industry

Ability to keep up a consistent professional image globally

One key concern facing the guarantee industry would be the capability to maintain a steady professional image internationally. Because of globalisation, it allows information to be sent quicker, and the causing impact will be multiplied. The discoveries about scam in Lehman Brothers, as well as in the organisations locally, specifically Singapore Land Authority, Singapore Red Mix Society, and M1 Limited, have casted uncertainties on the auditors' reliability in signing the true and fair of the accounts The growing cases of the scandals, in light of ever-changing business conditions, high turnover rate and pressures to improve success and operations, have caused problems in stakeholders and many expect that the accounting and assurance staff to be the watchdog to guarantee the true and fair of the accounts. Likewise, organisations turn to them to determine sound internal control buttons with proper company structures, to be able to boost stakeholders' self-confidence in them and to maximise shareholders' wealth.

A common misunderstanding would be that auditors are responsible for the breakthrough of scams, which is wrong. The management, as described in the auditors' statement, is the dependable party. Furthermore, auditors do not perform audit on the completely of the populace as it might be cost-ineffective and time-consuming, they choose samples that they considered as higher risks. Therefore, the auditors would only have the ability to provide a reasonable assurance predicated on the work done that the financial claims provide a true and fair view of the affairs of the company. If the auditors do not take care of the risks well, the public would scrutinise the auditors which would cause reputation damage.

To remain ethical and independence in any way times

Another key obstacle facing the industry would be to remain honest and independence at all times. Professional services experts such as lawyers, accountants, auditors and doctors, are anticipated to execute themselves in accordance with the code of Professional Do & Ethics with their respective planks. Unlike doctors and law firms, an unique concept guiding the auditors would be self-reliance, where they are expected to do something with integrity and choose an objective approach to professional work. This is because the client would pay the firm to audit their accounts, in which, the resulting view would be used by the other stakeholders, such as shareholders, investors and lenders for decision-making.

However, in my opinion, it is challenging to keep independence and ethical. The managers' bonus deals are partially linked with the recoverability with their portfolio. Because of this, they would succumb to boosting the audit fees and handling the time recharged to the engagements. When faced with small deadlines, the engagement teams would opt to reduce their coverage and sample sizes, increasing threat of exposure of detecting misstatements and control deficiencies.

Recent improvements in the sector

No internal controls system nowadays is ideal. Furthermore, it would be difficult to put into action a audio system as each company operates within an environment that taps seriously on technology, and has different reporting structure and policies. To attain efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the companies employed the utilization of it, wide period of control and also have resulted in the awareness of tasks in the hands of a few highly licensed technical personnel. As a result, segregation of tasks, an essential element in internal adjustments, might be dismissed.

In June 2010, a fraud including Singapore Land Expert (SLA)'s experienced personnel has been uncovered. Mature staff with SLA, Mr Koh Seah Wee was confronted with 249 costs for a S$12 million fraudulence case. It was discovered that Mr Koh awarded and approved the obligations for the contracts through the GeBiz system to fictitious firms. Fake invoices and fictitious services were said to be provided. As reported, each of the contract amounting from $2, 600 up to $60, 000. With these benefits, Mr Koh purchased luxurious cars as well as private properties and purchases in unit trusts. If scam cases could take place in government companies which the public held in high respect, there will be higher expectation on auditors to be alert during their fieldwork.

Although our division do not package with government organizations, there are still implications and learning things for us. The firms and the SME companies have a low fat organisation structure and incredibly often, the personnel strength is just sufficient because of its operations. So, one of the key concerns is the settings over segregation of obligations.

During the engagements, we taken notice of the authorization of the authorised employees especially expenditures incurred by top management, and vouched to ensure these settings were actually carried out. Secondly, for one of the engagements, I vouched to the encouraging documents for proof of authorisation, and found out that that the logistics director did not to remain the delivery documents to point that she has matched the details in purchase order, delivery order and invoice. The reason given was that she was on maternity leave and there is no other available staff that was trained to cover her obligations throughout that period. She was even asked to reduce her maternity leave to job application her work earlier. Furthermore, I detected that that logistics associate actually agreed upon for the manager, with the personal much like her superior. From these, I have learnt that there if the client has the intention to hide information from the auditors, it becomes harder for us to find any misstatements. In such situation, we should perform alternative assessment, observe and make logical deductions to be able to uncover the reality. Hence, we execute a stock-take observation, that was required by their inner auditors. True enough, there was $20, 000 worthy of of stock discrepancies because the dissimilarities weren't rectified immediately when there have been problems on the delivery documents.

Recommendations

For the advice for PwC, I suggested that the vocation trainees to be involved in the training sessions. Through the internship, the trainees would follow the slated engagements and assist their seniors at the job. However, the trainees do not acquire any revisions or show up at any lessons, which were compulsory for their seniors. Without the revisions such as incentives presented the latest budget, the data that people have would be restricted to what we've learnt in institution. Hence, this may result in inappropriate application of concepts. Furthermore, regular trainings would provide more opportunities for the trainees to familiarise themselves with the various templates, audit technique, tests methods etc. Hence, it could also reduce the time put in for the elderly people to describe the steps during engagements. The company may have thought that it could not be cost-effective to invest time training the trainees as the internship would only be 6 months. However, I felt that if we show up at the same occurrences as our seniors, such as trainings and workshops, it could allow us to obtain a better view of the work environment in the company and appreciate the emphasis and efforts to promote continuous learning. After all, to attain competitive edge, trainings would be instrumental to build up and bring out individuals' abilities. To possess competitive benefit in the professional services industry, the experts, which will be the most valuable property, must have the ability to increase their knowledge and develop skills at a faster rate than the rivals. As mentioned with my older, she agreed with my advice as she experienced troubles and delays anticipated to time taken up to explain the principles to her juniors.

Secondly, the company should consider streamlining its price claims process. Currently, for all staff, they would post the expense cases on the portal - iexpense. The expense statements would be refined via GIRO to the claimant's accounts two weeks later. However, for holiday trainees and short-term staff, their expenditure cases can be converted to cash and become claimed upon approval from the manager. As a result of this, we were contacted by professionals to assert the bills under our titles, in order that they could have the cash before. We were captured in an honest dilemma and the expense claims for every of us were exceptionally high. In addition, I noticed that there is insufficient segregation of responsibilities, where there are instances that the managers incur expenses because they got taxis to the client's place for field review and they're also the main one who approved their own taxi cab claims. Since they are also the approver, they could approve the taxi cab claims which were not used for business purposes. To deter this happening in the foreseeable future, I am proposing that the trouble claims for vacation trainees and short-term staff to be prepared via GIRO too. This move will reduce the cases where in fact the trainees be asked to promise with respect to the permanent staff, as we'd also require the two weeks processing period. Furthermore, it would be cost and time-saving as the trainees need not proceed to funding department personally whenever we are always from engagements and the GIRO request is swift and easy. For the trouble says incurred by the professionals, they must be approved by the directors and companions of the engagement. While I am aware that having less segregation of tasks could easily be override by professionals, by simply passing the receipts to their support and requesting them to promise under their labels. Random assessments could be conducted with the data that the professionals would check out the client's place for field review at least once for each engagement, hence, logically, we would expect at least one promise relating to the particular client. There may be also a whistleblower avenue for the claimant to are accountable to the finance office where their id would be stored confidential. As talked about with my mature, she agreed with my recommendation and urged me to propose this to the finance management as she was also asked to do when she was a junior.

As for the institution, I would suggest that we remove elluminate chat session. The goal of the chat procedure, for me, was to give a platform for the students to talk about their activities and reflection with their liaison officials online. However, I sensed that it was not as effective as the web connection may lag or some students were working over-time and may not rush back in time. Also, when the liaison officials post a question, we didn't have much time to believe through. The chat session was in a rush and we're able to not capture what our friends were expressing before commenting. I will suggest that we choose the use of online collaboration tools such as "Stixy". It really is an individual online notice table where each of us could input representation, add images, links and even share with other peers (Stixy, 2010). Please make reference to Appendix C for screenshots of its functions. The analysis could be set in a way where the deadline could be extended over a time period rather than 30-minutes chat time. Each college student will be asked to decorate and revise their notice table, with certain lowest requirements such as not more than 3 pictures allowed and reflection should have a minimum word requirement. Following the deadline, the notice mother board will be distributed to all of those other students who are on the same internship to touch upon. This cooperation tool is free, hence it reduces the expense of implementation. Secondly, it gives students the versatility to carry out this examination over a period. Furthermore, it promotes students to be creative in their presentation, ability expressing themselves apart from in words, which we usually do in discussion board.

Secondly, I'd like that the internship program be much more structured in conditions of planning students, the activities, expectations and goal setting techniques, to be able to achieve an enriching experience for the interns. During the internship, I noticed that a few of the interns felt lost, or even noticed unjustified because they were asked to do administrative work. Hence, it is important to set up place a built-in internship program where in the business's perspective, the alteration of these interns to everlasting staff and in the student's point of view, to remove the mentality of "just an intern". To prepare them mentally and psychologically, I believe these have been subsequently enhanced from the previous semesters, by the Dress to Impress! Workshop organised by BA Plus (Ngee Ann Polytechnic, 2010) and the compulsory yr 1 component, CQ at the job conducted by the institution of Interdisciplinary Studies (Ngee Ann Polytechnic, 2010). The school could consult with the Human Resources Department to turn out with a list of activities that amounts the on-the-job trainings with networking opportunities and community services.

I also believed that the internship would be productive if the learning goals placed at the commencement were achieved or if not achieved, be valuable learning encounters for many. The briefing given had not been sufficient since it was a one-way communication from the module leader to the students. At the beginning, the interns should be asked to fill up a form on the expectations because of this internship to permit the LOs and supervisors to better understand what these were looking to achieve during this time period. During the internship, the supervisors would hang out following up with the interns with the expectations set recently and keep track of their learning process. I realized that form of goal-setting has been executed in PwC. A sample of objectives questionnaire is fastened in Appendix D. These goals would then be followed up with the competencies graph, as fastened in Appendix E, to allow the liaison officers and students to keep an eye on their learning process on a regular basis.

I understand these additional processes would take up time and may not be well-received by students. However, going back to the goals of the internship, it would be to provide practical experience for students and effectively assess their learning process, it might be beneficial to guide them through their goal and expectation environment, in order that they enter the task force with a fresh attitude and path, rather than just learning from what they have been tasked. For example, if they're interested in financial services audit, even though they have got not been given a chance to be involved in one, they should make a note of what are the various resources that they have seek from. The companies have rich databases resources and definitely, elderly people would be willing to talk about their activities with them.

As I reveal, I thought that the main element takeaway for me personally is to keep a good attitude and zest in the jobs I do. Good attitude i am referring to, will be the eagerness to learn, initiative to ask, taking ownership, the courage to make errors, the determination in getting the right solutions, the overall flexibility to try other recommendations, combined with the energy and support to complete the proposal. These may appear a mouthful, but it can stem from creating a positive prospect to things in life.

Attitude is especially significant to me because I've seen can certainly make money was molded from the learn to the end of the internship. At the beginning, I was disappointed with myself as I was poor in understanding the concepts and in undertaking vouching. Additionally, my team in-charge explained on a personal remember that I was not suited to auditing.

From then on, I used to be scared to clarify my questions and tried out to avoid all troubles when possible. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to talk with my engagement's supervisor during a everyday chat. She told me that the analysis that I got was sensible and inspired me to keep with my internship. I thought to myself that maybe this could be an isolated incident. I will not allow other's opinions to affect my aspirations. I should have been more very sensitive with my elderly people' workloads by researching in the directories before nearing them with questions.

For the next few engagements, I proceeded with a modified attitude. With passion, I approached my team in-charges to ask if there was anything that I could help with. Normally, they would ask me to map the trial balance and read previous year's documentation. Whenever there are any documentation which i am uncertain of, I'll browse the audit programme and discover the explanation for the testing methods. Sometimes, I am unable to complete the mapping of the trial balance, I am going to consult with my senior and revise them on what I have done and which will be the areas that they need to clarify with the previous audit groups. I required my senior's feedback seriously and to be able to expedite might work, I'd read in the walkthrough documentation and familiarise myself with the key management workers and the filling up system. Through the weekends, I would also read in the audit guide, and would check with my seniors if they are available before I clarify my questions.

The brand new attitude was like the main element that opens the gates of opportunities. EASILY did not walk out from the setbacks, I would have resigned myself to basically vouching and not have the ability to be in-charge of parts. There are destined to be problems in advance, but I assume that the attitude will dsicover me through.

Conclusion

As interns, the problems that I have mentioned above might not be affect us immediately once we do not signal the accounts. However, this will not necessary mean that we play a little part in the audit of the financial assertions. From assisting with planning, fieldwork and all the way to its completion as mentioned in my interim record, these six months was never easy. As I reflect, I used to be once afflicted by the seniors' reviews and was even demoralised for not being valued for the efforts that I have put in. I had been surprised that I've the determination and commitment that go through dense stacks of documents, did the trick till midnight and on weekends too. It was a chance to discover my hobbies and strengths.

The internship programme has definitely given me a broad view of the strenuous corporate and business world which requires a whole lot of efforts in one self. It includes allowed me to use what I've learnt in institution as I believed that people learn consistently in life and witness what I've sow, is not really much about the results, but to see that these skills have been put to proper use in the foreseeable future.

Speaking of which, I have utilised these skills and learned some, especially smooth skills like communication skills, the courage to speak, people-management skills that will stay with me for life. This internship was especially significant because the info that I extracted from the clients and source documents proceeded to go under my hands, something lifeless and uncooked were eventually translated into audit records to test the reasonableness also to achieve the audit goals. It had been even as pleasing when the complete team saw the work that worked so hard during many later evenings were eventually drafted in to the financial claims.

While skills are important, I felt that the individuals that have arrived to my life weighs in at more. The bonds that I have produced with my co-workers and clients were priceless. They were the ones that you could draw a seat and chat with them for one hour, took initiative to ask if indeed they could help. I sensed the support and comfort from them as work was specifically enjoyable. With that said, this internship programme has given the publicity which i needed and created the surroundings that I possibly could explore and find out.

Appendices

Appendix A - Organisation Structure of Department OU5

(By Dec 2010)

Reporting to

132

Appendix B - Publication Article

It might well have started earlier than thought. . . ; Ex-SLA executive's alleged engagement in fraud

may have started in 2005

Leong Wee Keat Leong Wee Keat

20 November 2010

TODAY (Singapore)

(c) 2010. MediaCorp Press Ltd.

SINGAPORE - In an additional twist to the greatest suspected scams in the civil service, researchers now believe that one of the accused started out cheating the state of hawaii years before he signed up with the Singapore Land Authority, where his alleged offences were first uncovered.

On Friday, ex - SLA deputy director Koh Seah Wee (picture) was priced with cheating the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (Ipos) when he was associate director of its Information Technology Team from July 2004 to March 2007.

Koh, 40, purportedly conspired with Chartered Systems & Services to enable the business enterprise to win IT deals from Ipos. The business would submit payment invoices for fictitious goods and services, which Koh would certify even though little or nothing was delivered.

Eight fraudulent transactions, amounting to about $286, 000, are believed to have occurred between December 2005 and March 2007. "Investigations against Koh's activities in Ipos are carrying on, " according to a joint statement from Ipos and the Law Ministry.

While a earlier cheating scam involving ex - Trade Development Table chief executive officer Yeo Seng Teck had gone on for a longer period - for five years, between June 1988 and July 1993 -investigations into Koh have turned to his time at the Supreme Court docket, where he was deployed before July 2004.

Koh now faces a complete of 302 charges, while previous SLA director Christopher Lim Chai Meng, 37, encounters 309. Both men bought luxury automobiles from the alleged $12. 1 million they siphoned from SLA between November 2007 and March this season.

Ipos conducted its interior investigation after the purported SLA scam arrived to light in June. An unbiased review panel was convened and it suggested advancements to Ipos' internal adjustments, systems and techniques, that have since been implemented.

"These included strengthening inner audit structures and functions, centralising the procurement process and ensuring the purchasing official and the acquiring officer are different individuals, " read the joint statement.

Ipos said its financial claims and accounts were audited externally, not by the Auditor-General's Office, at that time the alleged offences took place. This is done in accordance with the Auditor- General's requirements.

"The audits conducted were statutory audits of financial claims and compliance audits designed to ensure compliance with finance methods and processes. These kinds of audit might not exactly always be able to pick up such fraudulent activities, " Ipos said.

Disciplinary investigations of officials whose lapses in supervision may have contributed to the scam going undetected are in progress. Action will be taken, if found appropriate, said Ipos. Koh's circumstance will be brought up again on December 3.

Appendix C - Stixy

Appendix D - Setting of expectations

Internship Program Expectations

Company: ______________________

Supervisor's name: ______________

Liaison Officer's name: ___________

Student Name: __________________

What are a few of expectations which you have because of this internship program?

What are some of the actions that you desire to attend through the internship program?

What are some of the learning goals that you desire to achieve by the finish of the internship programme?

How do you think the company can help to enrich your internship experience as well as your career dreams?

Appendix E - Competency Chart

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