Financial statements, management control and auditing are often underestimated by young people who want to approach the business world. Yet numbers are the foundation of any business and understanding this “sooner rather than later” can help build a rewarding career. We asked Prof. Giorgio Rusticali, Adjunct Professor of Corporate Auditing at the University of Bologna, Certified Public Accountant, Auditor, Conciliator and Arbitrator at the Consob Chamber of Conciliation and Arbitration and member of the Scientific Teaching Committee of the Master’s Degree in Finance, Control and Auditing at BBS, to explain how these kinds of skills can make a difference in the future of a young recent graduate.
Approaching the world of work for a recent graduate is a move full of expectations and questions. How can a Master’s degree simplify this process? How, specifically, does the Master’s in Finance, Control and Auditing work in this regard?
The FCA Master’s course is now in its 23rd year and is therefore based on a format that has been consolidated over the years. In particular, there are at least two elements that in my opinion deserve to be highlighted: the first is the internship, which is a key part of the course and which in the vast majority of cases turns into an actual job offer; this is also thanks to the fact that our partners often intervene as lecturers and therefore lecturers and participants have the opportunity to get to know each other even before the actual interview. The second element is the largely practice-oriented approach.
Management control and auditing are essential elements in business activities. What are the most exciting activities and engaging discoveries that a young person may encounter within these work areas?
Often young students are more oriented toward marketing and the world of high finance, except they realize along the way, that in business activities numbers matter a lot. The Master’s program can help make them understand “earlier” the importance of issues such as budgeting, management control and auditing activities. And from there it is then natural to become passionate and involved in discovering a world that hides the life and dynamics of business behind the numbers.
Let’s talk about sustainability, a topic now on the agenda in all professional contexts. How does it tie in with a path in corporate control and auditing?
The topic of environmental and social sustainability in production processes has an obvious direct impact on corporate reporting and consequently on corporate financial statements, the main reporting documents. Information related to non-financial aspects is now identified with three letters: ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance). The acronym ESG refers to the non-financial information that all companies will have to disclose on the three relevant aspects, namely environment, social issues and corporate governance. It is a disclosure focused on qualitative aspects that must, however, necessarily be quantified, and between now and 2030, appropriate professionalism to support companies in this regard will have to be consolidated. In this context, this year, for the first time, thanks also to the fact that the topic of sustainability reporting and auditing side has been almost fully regulated, there is a special educational session related to ESG reporting audits, precisely with a view to providing a basic preparation on these subjects.
Your course on “Auditing and Internal Control” is one of the most important courses within this master’s program. In addition, you have been part of the Master’s Faculty for many years. Do you recall any cases of particular success? Some students who have achieved great goals after their master’s degree at BBS?
I am an “old-timer” of the Master’s program since I have been a constant member of the teaching staff since the first year, and I could cite the cases of at least two law graduate students who in 6 months in the classroom passed the selective and very tough admission interviews in one of the “big four” auditing firms, or of one of our female students who came second in the national selections of an international auditing firm and flew to Bucharest for a European-level course even before being hired, or again of one of our students who at 25 is working in Luxembourg and auditing private equity funds, or of the many who are corporate executives. But I believe such a view is reductive. It is my opinion that all participants not only achieved great goals but went beyond them. Let me explain: there is no one concept of a great goal, but rather a personal and subjective concept of what a goal represents for each of us and how great it is. Here, with this in mind, I believe that all participants went beyond their expectations in terms of goals and – looking back months or years later – were amazed at the path they took. In this journey, part of the credit must surely go to the FCA Master’s degree that empowered all of them!
If you were to name the three strengths of BBS’s Professional Master’s in Finance, Control and Auditing, what would they be?
There are not three strengths, there is only one, but it is one that makes the Master’s in Finance Control and Auditing unique: life experience. The young people we admit to the course are selected on the basis of their potential and not just their academic record; we take them under our “care” and let them know what they can succeed in doing, what their untapped potential is, in a course that is as tough as it is challenging. And after 6 months in the classroom, we have literally changed them! Also complicit in all this is our magnificent location that isolates them from the rest of the world and makes this life experience unique and inimitable.