If you are considering a career in finance, you may be wondering about the skills you need to become an auditor. The job of someone who audits is to check over the business and accounting records of a company to make sure that the company is keeping honest records. Those who do this work can either be external or internal: that is, sometimes they are hired from outside companies or from agencies like the IRS, and sometimes they work within the company that is conducting the audit, either as a contractor or as an employee. These professionals can help a company to find any fraudulent or wasteful accounting practices and get rid of them. They can help ensure a company is being both more accurate and efficient.
Prerequisites to the Job
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you want to enter the auditing profession you will need to study accounting practices and hold at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. If you go into a specialty part of the field, such as information technology (IT) auditing, then you will probably need other coursework related to IT as well. It’s important that those who engage in auditing understand how companies keep their records so they are able to uncover either mistakes or actual fraud.
An excellent ability to concentrate on details is helpful. The willingness to learn and to keep learning about the continually updated standards in the field is also important. Many of the current standards for professional practice are set forth by the The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). Learning these kinds of guidelines can help those engaged in this profession to meet their client needs and also to be aware of auditing issues from a larger perspective.
Some Important Skills
To work in this field, professionals need to have a good ability to communicate, both in written and verbal form, for a variety of reasons. Locating problems or potential problem areas in a company’s financial record keeping is just a start; auditors then need to successfully communicate their findings, usually through well-written reports and oral presentations. In addition, most professionals in this field usually work within a team framework, so it’s important that they are able to listen to others and to communicate with them clearly regarding professional goals. Building relationships within the team and with the company for whom they’re working is essential. They need to be able to serve their customers well, including understanding the culture and strategies of a particular company, but also maintain the standards they’re required to meet in order to conduct an honest audit. That means that they need to be trustworthy people of integrity. Companies need to be able to trust that those they hire to handle this work will do so competently and objectively.
Professional auditing can be a demanding but satisfying job. The overall goal is to help a company be as accurate and honest as they can and to help that company improve their practices for the future. In order to do that, an auditor must have both good detail-oriented financial skills and the ability to share insights and communicate clearly amongst team members and to the company which hired them.