The importance of auditors in the modern-day and age cannot be mitigated. As a matter of fact, it can be seen that auditors today are more in demand, than ever before. This is primarily because of the fact that following world-famous scandals including Enron and WorldCom, investors have become increasingly vigilant of companies, as well as the relevant audit reports.
Auditing an organization is considered to be a very important task, and all companies, regardless of their geographic location are supposed to undergo audits. Therefore, as a skill and a profession, this seems to be a promising trajectory for numerous individuals.
However, a lot of individuals stumble upon the route they should take in order to become an auditor. Here’s a special checklist that is ideal for all candidates aspiring to step into the field of audit.
Here’s a preferable flow chart that describes the possible trajectory you can follow in order to launch your career as an auditor:
Step 1: Do your research
This is the first and the foremost step that needs to be undertaken when individuals believe they have an interest in the field of audit. The audit itself is a vast field, which covers various different areas.
In this regard, it is important to understand the fact that it is imperative to learn about different types of audits and auditor-related fields you can pursue. When it comes to audits, there are various different subcategories. They are mentioned below:
|Type of Audit||What this audit entails?|
|Budget Analyst||Budgeting and Planning are an integral part of all organizations. A budget analyst is a type of auditor job role that involves individuals monitoring costing and other related parameters within the company. This is mainly about ensuring, and reporting on variances from the budgeted figures. A budget analyst is required to analyze the underlying reasons behind the stated variances.|
|Financial Auditor||The Finance Auditor is required to oversee the financial operations. This involves finding out inconsistencies in the financial records of the company. This might include an end-to-end understanding of the business model, the cost metrics, as well as revenue sources. It is important to understand what particular issue is resulting in significant financial variances within the company.|
|Management Auditor||Management Auditor is supposed to oversee managerial issues, and design protocols that ensure that companies push themselves towards higher efficiency. Also referred to as management consultants, this particular audit is pertaining to figure out shortcomings of the financial setup, and how this can be improved in order to get better outcomes.|
|Process Auditor||Manufacturing concerns are mostly involved in various different processes. Process Auditor is supposed to figure out processes that are counterproductive, and subsequently devise policies to ensure that these processes are improved so that efficiency can be increased.|
From the list mentioned above, it can be seen that financial auditors are most in demand. This is because the financial audit is supposed to be undertaken by every company, for external stakeholders.
However, other types of audits, may or may not be required by law. However, financial audit continues to be in high demand and it is considered as one of the most cumbersome fields of auditing.
In financial auditing, candidates can either opt for internal audit, and external audit. The descriptions for these are mentioned below:
- Internal Auditor: Internal Auditor is privately hired by the company in order to ensure that all internal controls are properly implemented in the organization. They have the responsibility to conduct perpetual assessments to ensure that all functions within the organizations are adhered to in a proper manner.
- External Auditor: External Auditors are hired by specialist auditing firms, like EY (Formerly Ernst and Young), and PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers). External auditors are subsequently hired by companies in order to conduct their yearly audits, which are required by law.
These two options can be utilized when it comes to financial audits. However, this choice of concern comes at a later stage, once all degrees and accreditations have been accounted for.
Nevertheless, candidates should have an idea regarding their career path, and if these options resonate with what they aspire to do in the future.
Step 2: Find an undergraduate program
After preliminary research, it is important to figure out the degree you want to take part in. This involves researching degrees that might contribute towards a career as an auditor. For instance, a lot of individuals choose Accounting and Finance as their undergraduate degree which helps them to further their careers in the field of auditing.
Having a relevant auditing degree in this regard is quite important because it helps to form a basis for further qualifications or specializations. The best possible undergraduate program, however, is Accounting and Finance. Alternatively, individuals can also opt for business degrees, coupled with a couple of courses in accounting that can help them get a brief understanding regarding the field of accounting.
If you have already completed your undergraduate, and if it is not relevant to business, accounting, finance, or auditing, you might need to do a foundation program or a diploma.
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is an example of an organization that offers a degree that can help individuals build their careers in the field of auditing as well as accounting and finance.
In some countries, to become an auditor, you need will need to get the local CPA. For example, if you want to become an auditor in a specific state in the US, you will need to get a CPA license in that state. And if you have a CPA license, you could not work as an auditor counting journior auditor.
Step 3: Consider an Internship in an Audit Firm
This is perhaps the most important step when it comes to building a career in the field of auditing. This is because this internship would give you practical experience regarding auditing, and how audit firms generally work.
Even if you lack any prior experience in the relevant field, getting into a general managerial role might be helpful in terms of getting an idea regarding how the field of auditing works. Try getting an internship so that it’s easier for you to leverage into subsequent specialization based on your interest.
The Big 4 Audit Firms are widely known across the globe. It is perhaps a good idea to get in touch with them and try to intern to understand how this process works. The main idea here is to ensure that you have proper clarity regarding the job role you would have in the future, and what you need to do to achieve this ambition.
Step 4: Specialize in the chosen area
Once you are entirely sure about auditing as a career choice, it is time to step into getting a professional degree. Having a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Degree under your belt validates your skill as an auditor.
Regardless of the fact that this might not be a prerequisite, yet having a specialized degree in accounting, like CPA is crucial to leverage better career growth. Therefore, specialization in the respective area is quite an important task in this regard.
Other than CPA, there are also numerous other certifications that can help achieve the task. However, it is always better to get certified by a globally accredited organization.
Step 5: Keep learning and growing
Accounting itself continues to transform on a continual basis. Therefore, it is essential for you as an auditor to ensure that you continue to grow and learn.
Try learning new skills, and new objectives day. It is important to understand the responsibility associated with being an auditor. This cannot be fully catered to if new skills are not acquired on a daily basis.
Therefore, it is essential for auditors to continue learning and growing. There are various different diplomas that are offered by IFRS, and GAAP.
They can be followed on a continual basis so that skill development does not stop. That is perhaps the only prerequisite to add considerable value and follow your dream of becoming an auditor.