29 September 2023
What Is An Auditor?
You’ve heard people talk about it. You might even know someone who works in this field. But – (and here’s the big but) – what actually is an auditor? We hear you ask.
Auditors are giants in finance. The big bosses. They review company financial statements to make sure they’re accurate and compliant with the law. Once done, they write reports on their findings, a process known as an audit.
Tickle your fancy? Read on to learn more about what it’s like to work in auditing.
- What does an auditor do?
- How many types of auditors are there?
- What qualifications does an auditor need?
- What is the career path of an auditor?
- How much do auditors earn?
What does an auditor do?
Auditors are part accountants, part detectives. They scour documents relating to a company’s finances to make sure they’re valid and up-to-date. As an auditor, you can specialise in lots of different areas like assurance services or risk management.
But what are these? Well…
Assurances services: Clarifying information in a way that business leaders can understand.
Risk Management: Evaluating the likelihood of a financial statement being flawed.
Here are examples of your daily responsibilities as an auditor:
- Preparing tax returns and calculating how much tax is owed
- Identifying inconsistencies within processes and suggesting improvements
- Working with managerial staff and presenting findings and recommendations
- Collecting, and analysing spreadsheet data
- Ensuring all assets are protected
- Reviewing wages.
How many types of auditors are there?
There are many different types of auditors. Don’t know which to go for?
Here are the main ones:
- Internal auditors – are hired within organisations to deliver financial and operational analyses, and solve any problems before disciplinary action is taken
- External auditors – work independently for government agencies, providing unbiased reports on a company’s financial statements to determine their accuracy
- Forensic auditors – use their accounting knowledge and skills to work with law enforcement agencies and catch any illegal activity. Occasionally, they’re asked to stand as expert witnesses during trials
- Data auditors – analyse company data to ensure it’s safe to use. Data security is a huge concern for businesses, so action must be taken to avoid any breaches
- Payroll auditors – focus exclusively on salaries, how employees are paid, and pay band rates for staff depending on their position and seniority within the company.
What qualifications does an auditor need?
To become an auditor, you’ll need a degree in finance or accounting as these will teach you the basics and provide a solid understanding of what you’ll be doing in your role.
Placements and internships
It’s also a good idea to get some work experience. Placements and internships give you first-hand industry experience and let you shadow professionals within your sector.
Not only will you develop your skill set and confidence in a role, you’ll boost your employability and develop key contacts along the way that can provide CV advice, references and LinkedIn recommendations.
Did you know that tons of interns and placement students have gone onto secure full-time roles with the same company once they graduated? This could happen for you too!
Hear what this student had to say about their placement as an auditor with Deloitte:
“I have learned a whole host of new skills applicable to the accounting industry. These include, but are not limited to my ability to: use Excel confidently & effectively, understand and present data, apply accounting principles and knowledge that I did not possess prior to starting the placement.”
Employers will look at your certifications too. Having a certificate gives you a step up in your career and proves you’ve got the right skills to become an auditor. Lots of accounting bodies offer them. So it’s all about picking one that suits your experience and education level.
Here are some of the best training providers that’ll prepare you for a career in auditing:
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- Certified Public Accountants Association (CPAA).
You’ll need a good mix of soft and hard skills to ace your role as an auditor.
- Report writing
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
- Maths proficiency
- Interest in finance
- Ability to work under pressure/meet deadlines
- Ability to work independently and as a team.
What is the career path of an auditor?
As with every career path, the path of an auditor happens in steps…
Assistant auditor → Auditor
- Analyses financial reports and ensures their compliance with tax regulations
- Calculates tax profits using knowledge of tax codes
- Creates income statements and balance sheets
- Manages a team of auditors, setting tasks and checking report submissions
- Works directly with clients and drafts all major documents for them
- Reports auditing issues and helps to resolve them
Manager / Director
- Manages audit projects (often several at a time)
- Leads business development opportunities
- Develops and oversees assignment budgets
- Carries out project and risk management functions
- Assumes full responsibility for company performance
- Engages in business development negotiations.
Want to know what a career in auditing is really like? Read over 70,000 student written reviews to find the right company for you.
How much do auditors earn?
Auditors earn a good salary throughout their careers. Obviously, the more experience you have, the more you’ll earn. While the national average salary for an auditor is £32,411, given time, you can expect to make around £65,000 a year in a senior role.
The journey to becoming a fully qualified auditor is long (five to ten years) and requires hard work and determination. So if you’re ready to put the hours in, and overcome any obstacles along the way, you’ll find it super enjoyable and rewarding.
“Working in audit has strengthened my communication, collaboration and organisational skills as these are required in day-to-day activities. I have also learnt a wide range of IT and Excel skills. Over the years, I have received support from a wide variety of colleagues which has helped to improve the skills and knowledge I started my placement with.”