Exploring Undergraduate Students’ Understanding of Shari’ah Based Audit: Implications for the Future of Shari’ah Auditing Labor Market in Brunei
The worldwide Islamic finance industry had grown remarkably in the past decades, primarily propelled by the strong demand for shari’ah (Islamic Law) compliant banking products by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Behind the façade of such outstanding industry’s development, there remain unresolved critical governance issues warranting for immediate attention by industry stakeholders. Besides the presence of significant variations with regards to the scope and framework for shari’ah audit in the currently available shari’ah governance policy standards, another imperative issue surrounds the relatively small pool of knowledgeable and competent shari’ah auditors (vis-à-vis conventional auditors) to perform shari’ah auditing of Islamic financial transactions and hence, the institutions. Arguably, these pose a significant threat to the coordinated development of this religiously rooted industry. The study’s conjecture is that education holds the key to resolve the issue. Accordingly, it undertakes a preliminary survey on Bruneian undergraduate students in the field of accounting, business and shari'ah related, majority of whom are expected to be part of Brunei’s future shari’ah auditing labor market. The study finds that students’ understanding of shari’ah auditing is arguably "rudimentary" in nature. While the characteristics and knowledge expected of shari’ah auditor are well understood, the students are however unsure of the primary objective for shari’ah auditing. These highlight the practical imperative for the Brunei government to consider a holistic revamp of its education strategies in meeting future market demands for qualified and well trained shari’ah auditors.
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