Focus areas in competence development

Competence development is one of the focus areas of the strategy period. Through competence development, we aim at obtaining abilities to do things in a new way and thereby create a new kind of organizational culture according to our strategy.

The changing operating environment and the requirements set by the audit sector will shift the focus of competence development towards broader and more versatile competence paths. In 2020, we defined the competence areas that are critical to our operations and that help us to ensure that we have the sufficient competence and skills to operate both now and in the future. The 12 critical competence areas of the National Audit Office are:

  1. Analytics and data competence

  2. Knowledge of public administration

  3. Knowledge of general government finances

  4. Risk management knowledge

  5. IT system and digitalization knowledge

  6. Audit competence

  7. Knowledge of societal impact and networking

  8. Project work knowledge

  9. Interaction and teamwork skills

  10.  Coaching leadership skills

  11. Systems thinking skills

  12. Strategic thinking and operations skills

The critical competence areas will be used as a framework in the development of the personnel’s competence. In 2021, competence development at the NAOF level will focus on:

  • the development of digital capacity, including, among other things, the development of analytics and data skills, as well as IT system and digitalization knowledge

  • strengthening activities according to the new operating model, which includes deepening the project work knowledge and developing the skills of managing your own work and self-leadership

  • knowledge of societal impact and networking

  • systems thinking skills.

In addition to developing new kind of competence, the NAOF will continue to maintain its extensive and versatile audit competence. It will continue to be possible for the NAOF’s auditors to pursue domestic and international certifications in auditing as part of their work.

Development of digital capacity

Technology is developing rapidly, which enables us to develop new operating models for both audit work and all of the NAOF’s activities. Our aim is to develop our competence so that we can, for example, acquire, combine and utilize new kinds of data in the audit work. We need new skills for automating data processing and analysis. The importance of knowledge related to information management will also be emphasized in 2021.

The digitalization of the audit environment requires us to have a better understanding of the operating principles of information systems and of the processes, controls and risks associated with their management. We also need to be more familiar with the principles, procedures and technologies used in the digitalization of functions and services.

Strengthening activities that are in line with the new operating model

The National Audit Office has adopted a project organization, where all work is done in projects. Working in projects means working together instead of working alone. Compliance with common rules is emphasized, and people’s strengths are better utilized. We will continue to focus on the development of teamwork and project management skills, coaching, and interaction skills.

The transfer from a hierarchical model to a project organization that gives responsibility requires the adoption of new ways of working. Dismantling hierarchies increases freedom at work and experimenting, which will open opportunities for the organization. Our competence development will focus on skills and competences that support and promote working in the new organization model. Strengthening self-management and shared management in teams promotes the transition to a genuinely learning, responsible and creative organization.

Knowledge of societal impact and networking

In the future, it will be even more important to know our stakeholders and partners. We practise the ability to identify, join and form networks that are useful for our activities. In order to succeed, we are also required to be able to adapt our own activities according to the actors in the network.

In order to increase our societal impact, we will focus on negotiation, presentation, and facilitation skills in the coming years. By developing these skills, we will support our ability to engage in dialogue, listen, and hear.

Systems thinking skills

In order to have a societal impact, we must be able to identify increasingly how our audits relate to complex and broader cross-sectoral issues or phenomena. We need to be able to examine matters in a more comprehensive and systemic manner than before. When discussing the conclusions of our audits and the recommendations made on the basis of them, we must also be able to link different future scenarios to the systemic models. We will develop the systems thinking skills in connection with the planning of audit projects and our societal impact work, for example.

In competence development, we will emphasize on-the-job learning

Competence development will no longer mean only individual one-off training sessions or programmes. The perspective is shifting more and more towards learning that continues throughout the career and competence that develops in different duties at all stages of the career. We aim to support and promote on-the-job learning and find new forms and operating models to this end. At the same time, we will improve the capacity of our staff to provide and receive feedback as a natural part of everyday work. In team-based working, on-the-job learning is supported by learning from others as well as sharing one’s own expertise.