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UKIA recently completed its 2021-25 Strategic Plan. A first for UKIA, this plan includes seven initiatives that were identified as priorities by UKIA staff through a multi-step process:

  1. A detailed SWOT Analysis conducted by managers, which a plethora of opportunities, or goals, were further organized into five key areas: 1) Project Planning and Budgeting, 2) Recruitment, Retention and On-boarding, 3) Client Collaboration and Communication, 4) Infrastructure and 5) Professional Development.
  2. Five work teams led by the Audit Director and each of the managers were established to assess these potential initiatives. Staff were asked to serve on one of the teams, which was then tasked with assessing these initiatives against UK’s strategic plan and submitting their top three priorities to be voted on anonymously by the entire staff.
  3. When the votes were tallied, seven initiatives emerged as the top priorities for UKIA.
  4. The teams met again to develop specific tactics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for achieving these goals and establish a timeline for their completion. These timelines will also guide the implementation of these individual action plans and help keep the work teams focused.

It is interesting that, for the past five years, UKIA has consistently had an outward focus, with all initiatives designed to enhance our communications, improve university remediation levels, and decrease risk across the enterprise. With this Strategic Plan, though we will continue to work on those goals, we will do so indirectly, as the seven initiatives that were selected by the UKIA staff to be our highest priorities were all focused inward so that we can build on our skillsets, improve operations, and become better contributors to our unit and the university. Thus laser-focused on improving internally, these 7 initiatives were further organized into four categories, Our People, Our Skills, Our Tools, and Our Products. These initiatives, along with their anticipated timeline for implementation, are outlined below.

OUR PEOPLE RECRUITMENT UKIA will evaluate and improve UKIA’s recruiting processes to ensure that the best candidates are located and hired. UKIA’s action plan consists of rewriting UKIA’s position descriptions for better alignment with current expectations and job duties. Additionally, we will identify the best platforms for each job type to use to reach a large pool of applicants for each position and establish a budget for position advertisements accordingly.

Timeline – 3 months  Expected completion October 1, 2022

ONBOARDING UKIA will review and enhance UKIA’s new employee onboarding process. This consists of reviewing and revising employee onboarding packages and establishing a baseline training curriculum for each position type. UKIA will also ensure new hires are assigned and meet regularly with a mentor and arrange virtual and campus tours for new personnel to review UK’s organizational structure and physical layout.

Timeline – 6 months Expected completion January 1, 2022

RETENTION UKIA will review and enhance UKIA staff retention practices by establishing annual (or biannual) work-life balance check-ins and incorporate staff feedback, along with ongoing social events. UKIA will also Implement a formal employee recognition program and highlight existing employee accolades.

Timeline – 6 months Expected completion January 1, 2022

OUR TOOLS UKIA is committed to identifying/developing an audit management application to better suit UKIA’s needs. This will be done by evaluating Office 365 products SharePoint, Teams, Power BI, Power Automate and Lists and developing a requirements analysis, design and implement a system. Furthermore, UKIA will build reports identified in its requirements analysis and stakeholder/end-user feedback, as well as create dynamic reports, based on needs, that are interactive, customizable, and role-based, sourcing underlying data. UKIA will also evaluate ways to connect this audit management application to UKIA’s Audit Universe and findings tracking databases as well as increase the interoperability of these and other audit tools to reduce manual entry and duplication of effort.

Timeline – 24 months  Expected completion July 1, 2023

OUR SKILLS UKIA will increase the audit staff’s professional and institutional knowledge to improve audit work for clients. This will involve an enhanced focus on continuous education courses and campus electronic systems training for auditors. UKIA will also take steps to assist auditors toward completion of their professional certifications and increase enrollment in formal degree programs, workshops, and conferences for UKIA staff. UKIA will also establish mentorships between auditors and senior faculty/staff throughout the university and encourage staff to participate in professional organizations and conduct audit process research to report back to the UKIA team to enhance knowledge for all staff members while improving public speaking skills among staff. UKIA staff will also have the opportunity to lead student interns, shadow jobs in other departments and take on challenging projects (inside or outside of UKIA).

Timeline – 6 months Expected completion January 1, 2022

OUR PRODUCTS PROJECT FORECASTING UKIA will endeavor to improve project management by monitoring hours by task as opposed to audit phase (planning, fieldwork and reporting) and improve our project planning by allotting more realistic hours for each project type and assigning projects according to resources available. UKIA will also meet regularly with the team to keep all members moving and on the same page and prevent duplication of work.

Timeline – 6 months Expected completion January 1, 2022 Additionally, UKIA will improve project effectiveness. This will be done by using Gantt Charts that have project milestones with the capability to view alongside other projects in the same chart for better resource management.

PROJECT PLANNING UKIA will improve project planning to promote better outcomes, hold project kick-off meetings for each project to include the Chief Accountability Officer and Audit Executive and the Audit Director to exchange information about the unit that may help determine audit objectives. UKIA will also develop a more robust pre-planning package that will incorporate known data requests to prevent bottlenecks and minimize wait times. Additionally, audit staff will meet with the Audit Director during the planning phase (P1 through P6) process to ensure the audit is focused on appropriate objectives.

Timeline – 6 months Expected completion January 1, 2022