This article will provide a outline of what auditing is, what it entails, and whether it could be the right career path for you.
What is auditing?
A financial audit is the process of ensuring that a firm’s financial statements are prepared and presented in a true and fair manner. What this means is that the balance sheet, profits and losses, and accompanying reports are free from error to a justifiable extent.
Most financial audits are a statutory requirement; if a firm reaches a certain level of turnover or is subject to other requirements (being a public sector entity for example) they have to be audited by an accredited firm every year.
What does an auditor do?
As an auditor you will be working for various clients throughout the year, normally for a few weeks at a time (depending on the scale of the client).
You will be working as part of a team who will perform various testing on different areas of the accounts to provide assurance that they have been prepared reasonably. This will involve a mixture of testing samples of transactions, agreeing these figures for supporting documentation, liaising with the client to ask and resolve queries, and using your professional judgement to deem if the area of the financial statements has been prepared fairly.
You will likely travel a fair amount; auditors are often required to go out to the client’s site to perform testing and to liaise with the client. Depending on the firm’s client base, this could be to clients in your local area, across the country, or even in different countries.
What sort of training is provided?
Most accounting firms offer entry level graduate training programs; these are 3-year courses that provide a mixture of on-the-job and classroom training to work towards a Chartered Accountant qualification (normally the ACA or ACCA). During the program you will be gaining an increased level of experience and responsibility whilst working towards a reputable qualification.
If you are looking to gain exposure to accounting methods and practices, and will be looking to gain further qualifications after obtaining your degree (or equivalent), becoming a financial auditor may be a great way to enter the accounting and finance industry.