If you are interested in dissecting the inner financial workings of almost any company, a career as an auditor may be for you.
More than ever, financial accountability is
essential across all areas of business – and
that’s what the role of the auditor is all about. The insights gained by an auditor by really
getting ‘under the bonnet’ of how a business works
means that an audit qualification provides a critical path
into a successful business career. Auditors benefit from
attractive salaries, career progression and international
In simple terms, statutory (or external) auditors are
independent specialists who check the financial records
and report to shareholders. External auditors typically
work for firms of Chartered Accountants and carry out
independent financial audits which are required by law.
They may also advise on efficiencies and financial risks
and controls. Internal auditors perform internal company
audits, risk assessments and they advise on good
corporate governance and structures within an
What will I do?
If your idea of an auditor is boring, office based and
repetitive, then think again. Auditors are regularly off-site
with clients, using IT software to analyse financial
performance and to confirm the validity and legality of
their financial records. No two days will be the same, and
you’ll often be working multiple client assignments with
exposure to senior executives and directors. Your ultimate
responsibility will be to the shareholders of the company,
so you’ll also learn to adopt a healthy dose of ‘professional
scepticism’ to ensure a company’s financial controls are
appropriate in accounting terms and that the financials
reported by a company are reliable.
advising the business objectively on issues you may
encounter. The audit’s conclusions will be subject to close
scrutiny from existing and potential shareholders as well as
management, so the role carries considerable responsibility.
Key activities include:
- collating, checking and analysing financial data
- examining company accounts, records and financial
- gauging levels of financial risk
- ensuring that controls to safeguard assets are effective
- identifying if and where processes are not working as
they should, and advising on changes to be made
- preparing reports and commentaries for senior
management and boards
- liaising with managerial staff and presenting findings
- considering whether procedures, policies, legislation
and regulations are correctly followed and complied
Auditors can come from any degree subject, but most
audit trainees have studied accountancy in college and
qualified with a 2:1 degree.
Once you have graduated you can work as an auditing
assistant and learn on the job. During this time you will
study towards the accounting qualifications needed to
practice as an auditor.
For more information, contact Chartered Accountants
Ireland or any of the other professional accountancy
bodies. In most cases, trainees in public practice will have
chosen to specialise in the area of audit as part of their
professional education and will have generated broad
audit experience as part of their training contract.