Innovative Learning: Working Papers

Experiential education is the hallmark of a Drexel LeBow education. So it’s no wonder that during her last auditing class, Associate Professor Barbara Grein wanted to incorporate elements that had students not only studying, but working as well. Since auditing contains concepts and processes that can be difficult to comprehend with just a textbook and lecture presentations, adding an experiential component to the class would enhance learning. As an experienced auditor with multiple research projects dedicated to the topic, Barbara wanted her students to get immersed in an audit project. The project has been so successful that it has developed into an assignment that connects students with professionals and alumni through workpapers.

The project is a four-step process. First, the students write a memo and use spreadsheets documenting part of the planning process – analytical procedures, identification of key accounts and assertions, and setting planning materiality. Second, audit professionals review the student memos and spreadsheets as if this were work completed by one of their first-year professionals. Third, the professionals come to campus to meet one-on-one with the students to review the workpapers, their comments and to discuss the auditing profession. Finally, students revise their workpapers, including clearing the professional’s comments and submit the revised project for a grade. 

Students get exposure to the review process; a key component of adequate supervision under auditing standards is the review of workpapers by the senior, manager and partner on each engagement),” Grein explains. “They also get to meet and interact with real live auditors, primarily Drexel alumni. This gives them greater insight into the auditing profession as well as making professional contacts.

Professionals from Ernst & Young, KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, Grant Thornton and Protiviti, many of whom were alumni, participated in this year’s program.