Twice the Charm: New Professional Master for Auditors

November 12, 2020

2 in 1: Preparation for the technical exam and academic degree

Auditors have always found themselves in a challenging but also fascinating and protean line of work, requiring persistence, economic foresight, and extensive subject-specific expertise. A well-rounded education is and remains the prerequisite for success in this increasingly complex and, due to digitization, rapidly changing profession. This is where the new Professional Master in Accounting, Auditing & Taxation at the WU Executive Academy comes in. The program was jointly developed with the Austrian Academy of Tax Consultants and Auditors (ASW) and will doubly benefit future auditors as of March 2021, offering specific preparation for the technical exam and, simultaneously, an academic degree conferred by one of Europe’s foremost universities of economics.

Pic of Professional Master students before the exam
The new Professional Master optimally prepares students for the technical exam - including an academic degree.

“The vital importance of auditing for the Austrian economy has been thoroughly demonstrated by the developments of the past months, among them accounting scandals such as the one involving Commerzialbank,” emphasizes Klaus Hirschler, Academic Director of the new program and professor at the Institute for Accounting & Auditing, adding: “That pinpoints the reason why we need specialized, trained experts.”

Two Birds with One Stone: Preparing for the Technical Exam and Earning an Academic Degree

Against this backdrop, the WU Executive Academy has developed a new Professional Master program that will serve as a stepping stone to a successful auditing career. What’s special about this: it will allow participants to prepare for the technical examination to become auditors and acquire an academic degree through the completion of a WU program.

Portrait Gerhard Stangl

Mag. Gerhard Stangl

  • CEO of the Austrian Academy of Tax Consultants and Auditors

Currently, nothing in Austria compares to this program – this combination is definitely unique. It enables students to prepare intensively for this demanding job and increase their hirability at the same time.

Prospective auditors must pass a technical examination at the Austrian Chamber of Tax Consultants and Auditors, which without a doubt ranges among the most taxing exams one can currently take in Austria. No wonder: a lot is expected from auditors these days. That is why a modern, practice-oriented further education is not only the ideal foundation for passing this exam but also for successfully dealing with the complex tasks this profession holds in store. “State-of-the-art e-learning elements such as learning videos, podcasts, webinars, and interactive group assignments provide an environment in which students can optimally prepare for becoming an auditor. Thematically, we will focus on the areas most important in day-to-day business, ranging from economics and accounting to legal studies,” Hirschler emphasizes. The central components of the overall four modules comprise cost accounting, drafting financial statements, insolvency law, corporate law, and financial statement audits. Graduates will be able to apply these contents to their everyday work life immediately upon completing each module.

What Auditors Need to Know

“Independence, technical savvy, and openness to change are indispensable if you want to make it as an auditor,” says Klaus Hirschler. Tenacity and curiosity are also qualities that will benefit graduates in later life. For Gerhard Stangl, the basic requirements include an aptitude for analytical thinking, an affinity for numbers, and a willingness to engage with and understand the pertinent regulations.

Portrait Klaus Hirschler

Prof. Klaus Hirschler

  • Academic Director of the Professional Master Accounting
  • Auditing & Taxation

What is more, auditors have to understand the business models of a company and be able to identify critical issues. Continuous education and life-long learning are a staple of the auditor’s professional life, as the legal environment and resulting requirements change constantly.

And speaking of the law: amendments in the relevant provisions have made it possible in Austria to take the auditing exam without having to pass the tax advisor exam before or at the same time. This greatly facilitates access to the job.

banner pic of the professional master
The new Professional Master Accounting, Auditing & Taxation facilitates access to the job.

Ideal Prospects

“More and more companies have realized that high-quality auditing is invaluable,” Hirschler says. This means that there is work in spades for auditors, and job prospects are accordingly attractive. “Austrian businesses are desperate for well-educated high potentials. The new program will contribute to making this profession even more appealing to young, hard-working talents,” says Gerhard Stangl. What is more, crisis-proof jobs are especially sought after in times like these. Whether they are employed by one of the big four or planning on conquering the market with their own firm, the graduates of the new Professional Master program will consolidate their standing and expand their skills either way. On a side note: the share of women in auditing is consistently on the rise. “We are also seeing this in our applicant numbers: about 40% of our candidates for the program starting in 2021 are female, which we welcome very much,” says Gerhard Stangl.

For more information about the Professional Master Accounting, Auditing & Taxation, please click here.

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