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Internal auditing program focus of SRU grant

Professors in the School of Business at Slippery Rock University are trying to kick-start a new minor in risk management, to give students in accounting, economics and finance programs experience in potential careers.

The university recently received $2,000 from the Institute of Internal Auditors to promote career paths for students as internal auditors. Theresa Phipps, associate professor in SRU’s School of Business, said this money, and future grant money she is hopeful for, will develop an internal auditing education partnership program.

“My endgame is getting a $10,000 or $15,000 grant,” Phipps said. “This is going to help us expand and work toward growing our minor in risk management and helping our students see this is a good career path.”

Phipps said she typically has 20 to 40 students in her classes on forensic accounting, federal individual tax, financial accounting and auditing and insurance. Introduction to auditing is a newer program at SRU, according to Phipps, which is the focus for growth from the grant.

Through the grant, SRU can partner with other members of the Institute of Internal Auditors for educational purposes.

Phipps said SRU has so far partnered with Duquesne University through the grant to create a mentoring relationship program.

By implementing a new minor focused on risk management, Phipps said she hopes to give students a wider array of what they can do in the field once they graduate.

“As an accountant, you can go into tax, auditing, nonprofit, corporate,” Phipps said. “We’re trying to give students different knowledge and they can figure out which way they want to go.”

Additionally, Phipps said more and companies and organizations are in need of internal auditors, because they are looking to improve their own financial awareness. However, internal auditing can be a different beast than external.

“External is more like we would audit hospitals, banks, but we wouldn't work for them,” Phipps said. “Internal, you work for that company and audit them.

“The risk management minor kind of touches on those areas, identifying where your company is weak and can build up internal controls.”

Phipps said she plans to pursue more grant opportunities to promote accounting, economics and finance at SRU, because even students already in those programs may not know of what opportunities are available to them.

“The reason why auditing is thriving, we're still seeing, more companies are trying to create an internal auditing departments,” Phipps said. “The whole idea of mitigating risk … you can go into insurance, internal auditing, financial risk analysis; it’s kind of a new field to give our students a skill set and knowledge.”

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