Career Development

Auditor Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Auditors review and analyze an organization’s financial records to ensure that they are functioning properly and in accordance with relevant laws and standards. They provide an independent assessment of a business’s financial statements, which helps the company’s management team and board of directors know if they should change their accounting practices in any way.

Auditors review and analyze an organization’s financial records to ensure that they are functioning properly and in accordance with relevant laws and standards. They provide an independent assessment of a business’s financial statements, which helps the company’s management team and board of directors know if they should change their accounting practices in any way.

Auditors must be able to accurately evaluate financial records and detect errors in order to fulfill their duties. This requires strong analytical skills and attention to detail. In addition, they must have a thorough understanding of auditing standards and methods in order to perform their job effectively.

Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be an auditor and what it takes to become one yourself.

Auditor Job Duties

Audit professionals are responsible for a wide range of duties, including:

  • Conducting preliminary research to understand the client’s business and industry as well as the legislative environment in which the client operates
  • Interviewing employees from various departments within the client’s company to gather facts or opinions about their work processes and results
  • Preparing written reports detailing findings regarding potential risks, weaknesses, and issues with a business process or procedure
  • Identifying methods to improve processes based on research findings and communicating potential improvements to management
  • Performing audits by examining company records, policies, and procedures to ensure that they are accurate and complete
  • Reporting audit results to management or other individuals who have the authority to take corrective action based on audit findings
  • Maintaining effective working relationships with staff members throughout the organization

Auditor Salary & Outlook

The median annual wage for auditors is $62,232. Those earning higher wages tend to work for large accounting firms and the highest earners of the profession are making over $101,000 per year.

The employment of auditors is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade. This is due to the growing need for audits in order to meet government regulations and the increase in mergers and acquisitions that result in more audit work.

Auditor Job Requirements

The requirements for auditors are as follows:

Education: A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field is usually required. Some employers prefer candidates with an advanced degree such as a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

Certification: The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation may be required by some employers. This certification requires the candidate to pass the Uniform CPA Examination and meet other educational and experience requirements. Most states require CPAs to have passed this exam before practicing public accounting. Other certifications, such as the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) are available. These certifications vary in length of time it takes to earn them and may not be necessary depending on the employer.

Training: Many auditors are required to complete an internship or on-the-job training at a public accounting firm. These programs are designed to teach them the skills they need to perform the duties of the job. After completing this training, they may be shown how to use specific software applications.

Auditor Skills

To be a successful auditor, you must have the following skills:

Organizational skills: Individuals must have strong organizational skills in order to complete work within tight deadlines. They also need to manage multiple projects, prioritize tasks, and present information in an organized way.

Decision-making skills: Auditors need the ability to make sound decisions based on evidence, data, and business judgment. This goes hand-in-hand with the need for strong analytical as well as critical thinking skills which contribute to being able to effectively evaluate financial information and other records.

Detail-orientation: An auditor must pay close attention to detail in order to spot errors or potential fraud.

Integrity: Auditors hold key positions that carry high levels of responsibility. For example, auditor’s reports may be used as evidence in court if fraud is uncovered. It’s important for auditors to possess high levels of honesty, integrity, and responsibility.

Interpersonal skills: Candidates must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills in order to communicate with colleagues and clients. They must also be able to accurately and concisely prepare reports.

Time management skills: Auditors must be able to manage their time effectively. This job can be demanding, particularly in annual financial year-end seasons.

Auditor Work Environment

Auditors work in offices and they usually spend a good deal of their time sitting at desks reviewing reports and other information. They may have to travel around the country to examine records or speak with clients in person. 

Auditors often work long hours, because audits can take months to complete. The job can be stressful, as auditors must thoroughly inspect and analyze all aspects of an organization’s financial records.

Auditor Career Path

Getting Started

At first, new auditors are assigned to junior positions, where they’re supervised by senior auditors. They learn how to analyze financial statements and prepare audit reports. Although the job is not glamorous, there are many opportunities for advancement, and the field offers a variety of interesting challenges.

Five Years On The Job

By five years on the job, auditors spend time running audits, supervising junior auditors, and completing paperwork. Some auditors may become specialists in financial fraud or tax planning; others may continue to work with big corporations or individuals who have enough assets to attract interest from large audit firms. After five years, many leave for positions in business or governmental service.

Ten Years On The Job

A decade after starting out, an auditor has gained considerable knowledge about audits and is ready to take on more responsibility. The majority of experienced auditors become managers of audit teams; others move up to positions of financial analysis or controller; some choose to go back to school for an MBA; salary increases significantly during this time frame, especially if the auditor is promoted into a management position. 

Auditor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how auditors work. Auditors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Increasing Attention to Compliance

While this job has long been considered a stable, secure profession, recent changes in the industry are leading to more scrutiny on the role of auditors.

For example, it is estimated that almost half of all audits fail to uncover financial fraud or errors – an issue that will likely be compounded by increasing compliance requirements in the future.

The Rise of Cyber Auditing

Cyber security audits are becoming increasingly important in the world of business due to the high number of data breaches and frauds that occur on a regular basis.

For example, a report found that 74% of all large organizations were the victim of cyber attacks in 2016, with losses averaging $4 million per company.

The need for greater cyber security will lead to more specialized jobs such as cyber auditors, who can protect companies from these risks while keeping them up-to-date on compliance standards and potential changes in laws that may impact their operations.

The Impact of Global Markets

While auditing has traditionally been limited to national or regional markets, the increased globalization of industries means that audit firms will need to become more adept at operating in international markets.

How to Become a Auditor

1. Planning Your Career

To become an auditor, it’s important to understand the different types of auditing and decide which best fits your skill set. The field can be broadly divided into two categories: financial auditing and operational auditing.

Financial auditors review the records of companies and individuals in order to ensure that they are reporting accurate financial information; these positions often require a strong background in accounting or finance. Operational auditors work with businesses to develop internal controls and then assess whether those controls are effective; this type of auditing is less technical than financial auditing but still requires good analytical skills.

Before pursuing an advanced degree, aspiring auditors should gain some experience working in their desired field; internships and entry-level jobs offer great opportunities for learning about what the job entails on a day-to-day basis. Many schools also offer part-time or evening programs for students who have full-time jobs during the day.

2. Writing a Resume

For an auditor resume, you should highlight your analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to follow protocols. The best resumes for auditor positions also list past work experience that demonstrates their ability to conduct audits in accordance with industry standards.

While listing your previous employment history, provide details on the type of companies or organizations that you audited. You can then include examples of how you use your analytical skills in your work such as evaluating the accuracy of financial documents or demonstrating how you followed protocol when conducting investigations. To highlight your attention to detail, be sure to explain how you identified errors or omissions and rectified them.

3. Applying for Jobs

The first step in finding a job as an auditor is to build a strong network. It’s a good idea to join professional organizations that allow you to meet people in the field and connect with current auditors. You can also look for work through headhunters. If you know someone already working at a company you’d like to be a part of, try asking them for an informational interview. This is a good way to learn more about potential employers and the field as a whole. 

Once you have a feel for the landscape, look for positions that match your background and skillset. It’s okay to directly reach out to companies that interest you, however sending unsolicited emails isn’t the best approach. If you’re able to speak to employers and ask for informational interviews, you’ll likely gain valuable insight into the work environment and company culture. 

4. Ace the Interview

To prepare for an accounting or auditing interview, you’ll need to think about your skills and accomplishments. Do you have a thorough understanding of accounting principles? Can you apply them in a variety of situations? Are you detail oriented? Explain why you’ve chosen this line of work and how it supports your long-term career goals.

In an accounting interview, the interviewer will be interested in a few things. First, they want to make sure you have a solid understanding of the industry, and that the role in which you are applying is a good fit for your skill set. They will also want to know if you have any special projects or achievements under your belt. Be sure to speak clearly and confidently when answering questions that appear on the job description, but also be ready to answer questions that may come up that were not anticipated. You can also use this opportunity to demonstrate how well you communicate with others.

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