what is an auditor?

As an auditor, you are accredited to assess, evaluate and ensure the accuracy of an organisation's financial accounts. You also guarantee tax compliance and validate the business actions of your employer to ensure the company is running smoothly. 

In an advisory role, you assist your employer in identifying cost-saving measures and risk aversion methods that improve business success. As an economic specialist, you assess the financial health of a company and provide recommendations to improve revenue and minimise expenses. 

what does an auditor do?

All companies require an internal or external auditor to assess financial soundness and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Auditors also work for the government and public corporations to ascertain proper handling of funds and uncover embezzlement and misappropriation schemes. 

In the private sector, auditors act as consultants who ensure financial records mirror the state of an organisation. You also provide unbiased evaluations and recommend ways to improve a company's current practices and processes. 

Generally, your objective as an auditor is to assist companies in improving operational productivity, mitigating risk and ensuring compliance. As part of a company’s accounts department, you can work not only in the banking and finance sectors, but also in industries as diverse as manufacturing and production.

Would working as an auditor suit your analytical skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an auditor role. 

auditor roles
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average salary of an auditor

Wondering how much you will make as an auditor? According to the National Careers Service, in the UK, the salary of an auditor ranges from £23,000 to £65,000 annually, depending on employer, geographical location, experience and educational qualifications. 

Aside from the basic salary, auditors also enjoy various allowances, including transport, house allowance and healthcare.

other factors that impact an auditor salary

Your salary varies based on your geographical location due to the difference in the cost of living. In small towns, living costs are lower than in cities, so the compensation package reflects this. That also means, if you are an auditor in London, your employer adjusts the salary to accommodate the higher costs. 

The industry you work for also dictates your earning potential. For example, an auditor working in the public sector or government entities earns a lower salary than someone working in the private sector. 

Multinationals require additional experience and qualifications and are willing to pay more for exceptional services. In auditing, your certifications and chartered status can increase your earning potential. In terms of demand, auditors are highly valued, so you can focus on the opportunities that suit you best.

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types of auditors

You can branch out into various specialisms in your auditing career. Some of the common types of auditors include:

  • internal auditors: when you are an internal auditor, your responsibilities are dictated by the employer. Your role will be to review the performance of employees and ensure financial records comply with the company's standards and accounting systems. You also conduct risk assessments and assist managers in making sound business decisions.
  • external auditors: as an external auditor, your job is to carry out mandatory statutory or financial audits to determine the accuracy of records. Your responsibility is to ensure the financial records paint an accurate picture of a company's financial situation. The report you prepare will provide unbiased evidence of the integrity of a company to its stakeholders.
  • forensic auditors: in forensic auditing, your job is to investigate illegal activities and fraud in a company. You can also help organisations determine protection measures to prevent embezzlement and fraud.
  • tax auditors: your work as a tax auditor is to verify the integrity of a company's tax returns. You determine whether a company correctly estimated its tax obligations.
     
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working as an auditor

Becoming an auditor is an exciting career with diverse responsibilities and work environments. Read on to find out how you spend your time as an auditor and whether the role might be something you enjoy.

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education and skills

Use any of the following routes to become a professional auditor:

• earn a bachelor's degree: many professional auditors start their careers with a bachelor's degree in finance, economics, business or accounting. To join the university, you need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or 3 A levels, including English and maths. When you complete the undergraduate programmes, you will undergo further training to become an auditor.
• certification: ensure you earn industry-related certifications to increase your job prospects. In the UK, you need a Certified Public Accountants (CPA) licence to practice auditing. In some auditing specialisms, only members of specific professional bodies can become auditors. For instance, if you want to be an external auditor, you must be a member of the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). You also need certification from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to audit in the public sector.
• apprenticeship: you can become an internal auditor through an apprenticeship that combines on-the-job training and coursework. Join the higher apprenticeship programme to become an internal audit practitioner or a Level 7 apprenticeship for professional qualification. You need 4 or 5 GCSEs from grades 9 to 4 and 3 A Levels to join a higher diploma or degree in apprenticeship.

skills and competencies

Can you combine your qualifications with hard and soft skills? Then you are likely to thrive in your career as an auditor. Some of the important skills include:

  • analytical skills: your job is to identify issues in documentation and provide effective solutions. To review the financial records and analyse company processes, you need exceptional analytical skills to investigate and interpret the information at hand.
  • organisation skills: in auditing, you will work with a range of financial records, and sometimes you have to maintain documents from multiple clients. Strong organisational skills help you sort documentation and keep paperwork to provide accurate results.
  • communication skills: as an auditor, you work closely with clients and the upper management. Therefore, it is crucial to have good communication skills. You need to understand your clients' needs and concerns to provide solutions. Sometimes, you have to make presentations on your audit findings or write reports, which need proper communication skills.
  • maths skills: in auditing, you will spend most of the day crunching numbers and analysing records to interpret facts and figures. If you are able to combine maths skills, proficiency in data analysis and accounting skills, you can be successful in your auditing career.
  • attention to detail: mistakes in auditing have severe consequences, including fines and legal actions. You should be attentive to details when examining accounting records to help your clients avoid penalties and liabilities.
     
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FAQs

FAQs about working as an auditor.

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