If you are looking to start out your career as an auditor and are thinking about what qualities distinguish an excellent auditor, then you are at the right place.
Back then, knowing the ins and outs of auditing might propel you to the top of the career ladder. Nowadays, it’s expected to be less so. The skills we picked up in accounting school can no longer set us apart. Instead, they are actually anticipated as part of your job as an auditor.
Here are some of the skills you should master to become a good auditor:
Critical thinking abilities are required for a job in auditing. This thinking style challenges them to think beyond their own biases and judgments to evaluate from multiple perspectives and their validity before concluding. This is not something that can be easily replaced by automation and AI.
Have professional scepticism
As we move toward a more proactive strategy and away from a traditionally backward-focused one, it means that auditors need to approach their work with a fair dose of professional skepticism.
Regardless of the circumstances, when analyzing financial and non-financial data, a good auditor will trust nothing and undertake each review with a keen eye and a high level of attention.
That being said, professional skepticism requires the auditor to avoid shortcuts and revisit aspects of the audit if anything appears to be awry.
It may be all too tempting to take all of the information offered by an audit client as it is, but, to be a good auditor, a certain degree of skepticism should always be applied to the information obtained.
It is important to note that while skepticism is welcomed, auditors must balance it with open-mindedness in order to make informed assessments and choices.
Communication ability is a highly valued, yet shockingly rare, trait in today’s workplace. Auditors that are good communicators will stand out among their competitors.
In fact, it is a core ability that clients love the most.
Good communication abilities entail clearly communicating ideas, concepts, and suggestions to audit clients and executives during interviews, presentations, meetings, and negotiations.
When we said communication ability, it does not limit to just verbal communication. Non-verbal communication, teamwork improvement techniques, and presentation skills are equally important.
Employers in every profession want to know that their employees are willing to learn and grow. They appreciate people that go above and beyond to develop themselves and their expertise.
To be a good auditor, you must be willing to take the initiative and accept responsibility for your own achievement. One way to show that you are ready to grow and advance in the profession, you should pursue professional certifications, and professional titles and continuously update yourselves with Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Have business acumen
Auditors today must understand the figures they audit and the role they play, and why they are important to the client’s business. In short, individuals who want to excel in their audit careers need to do their tasks well and connect the dots to understand the true business impact.
Such information is most important to the stakeholders.
Having business acumen entails objectively analyzing and evaluating the facts and information obtained in an audit to gain insights that can be acted on.
You may not think that is the case, but many clients are often impressed when auditors ask the right questions and provide suggestions that demonstrate their understanding of the industry in which their client operates.
Audits can be stressful for those on the receiving end, and experienced auditors must be able to empathize with the emotions of their clients or stakeholders while staying calm and prudent.
This ability distinguishes audit practitioners and enables them to convey their audit findings most efficiently, but it also leads to better quality audits.
For instance, empathy enables an auditor to have a deeper understanding of the client’s point of view when performing an audit.
Having empathy also includes the ability to listen, which is another aspect of great interpersonal skills, particularly for auditors.
As previously said, the most successful auditors are not satisfied with the status quo. They are always looking for ways to improve and develop their profession which is changing at a rapid pace.
Auditors should strive to improve their own abilities and understand, adapt to, and use developing technologies.
Even if the firm has a formal learning program, auditors should independently explore workshops and courses to expand their own knowledge.
These audit practitioners should also dive deep into problems in search of an answer and solution. To be curious means that they are intrigued by a mystery rather than put off by it.
Audit experts are subject to a plethora of accounting, auditing, and financial rules. They must have at least a basic level of legal and analytic understanding to do so.
Auditors must also learn to interpret statistics as their work requires them to face vast financial data. Data management is a proven method to stand out in a competitive profession and labor market, especially since data science is one of the most in-demand skills.
Have a high emotional quotient (EQ)
No matter how messy the client’s financial records are or how anxious the auditor feels about discovering a potential fraud, an auditor should learn to be good at being calm and maintaining their composure.
At the same time, still, be able to carry out an accurate and exhaustive audit. Such quality is vital for auditors who want to build a strong professional reputation.
Having these skills will make you a more well-rounded auditor and help you recognize what can be done to help you excel at your job.
By engaging yourself in more value-added and gratifying activities, you may become the strategic and insightful auditor your firm requires.