Auditors play a significant role in the team and will benefit the company to maintain consistency, detect fraud and find errors in their processing. Does this career sound up your street? Find out more about auditor jobs in our guide.
What is an auditor?
An auditor inspects financial accounts, ensuring they’re accurate and comply with tax laws. Auditors can be internal and external, checking various companies and organisations, and evaluating risk management. With an auditor role, it’s all about being on point with precision.
Other types of auditor include:
- Internal auditor: Your responsibilities are set by the employer. The role consists of reviewing the performance of employees and checking financial records to comply with company standards and accounting systems. Internal auditors focus on past events for their reviews, whilst a compliance auditor is involved before new products/services.
- External auditor: Your job is to carry out mandatory financial audits and ensure the company’s finances are accurate.
- Forensic auditor: Your job is to investigate fraud and other illegal activities within the company.
- Tax auditor: Your job is to determine whether a company’s tax returns are correct and honest.
Auditing can also include consulting and advising management on improving their systems and processes.
The auditor role has a varied list of responsibilities meaning, you’ll never get bored. Generally speaking, the auditor’s main responsibility is to plan and perform the audit, ensuring the financial statements are precise and free of material misstatement. This means checking for no errors or signs of fraud overall.
Auditors come from a range of different educational backgrounds.
Internal and external auditors' roles are different because external auditors look at more than only the organisation’s financial and accounting risks. They consider the environmental impact, treatment of employees, reputation growth and the company’s ethics.
Aside from the main role, an auditor's responsibilities can involve:
- Analysing the company’s financial data.
- Assessing and examining company accounts and financial reporting systems.
- Guiding all staff and delivering training sessions.
- Identifying risk management processes within the business and recording the results.
- Interviewing staff across various companies to obtain information and documents.
- Observing business processes and making recommendations for improvements.
- Performing risk assessments across key business activities and using results to guide what is covered in audits.
- Preparing reports of issues found and sending them to relevant people.
The average auditor's salary ranges from £19,000-£65,000. Entry-level auditors, straight from university can expect the lower end of this range.
Salaries tend to steadily increase, and between 3-7 years of experience, the average is between £32,000-£53,000. A senior auditor's salary, in a management/director position, it’s over £65,000.
Auditors come from a range of different educational backgrounds. These are your options to secure the right auditing qualifications, the career is an open field to all types of graduates with degrees in the subjects of:
It can be either a bachelor's degree, HND or foundation degree. These subjects are considered beneficial and could increase your chances of growth and promotion in your auditor career. A post-graduate degree isn't necessary, however, it can be useful, in subjects such as business studies or economics.
Training and development are a constant part of the auditor's role to update your current knowledge and develop your skills.
To initially join the university, you’ll require a minimum of 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or 3 A levels, including English or Maths.
There are two types of audit apprenticeships by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA):
- Internal audit practitioner: This level 4 apprenticeship is designed for those newly appointed to an internal auditor role or existing auditing staff, seeking improvement in their training or understanding of an internal audit. The apprenticeship helps you work towards two IIA qualifications, the Business Risk and the Internal Audit Practitioner and the IIA Certificate in Internal Audit.
- Internal audit professional: This level 7 apprenticeship is for experienced internal auditors and after completion includes the full CIA qualification. This path leads to Chartered Membership of the Institute (CMIIA).
- Other routes: The National Audit Office also offers apprenticeships and graduate schemes to help qualify as an auditor. Or you’re able to train to be an auditor through a Certified Public Accountants (CPA) licence to practice auditing.
Training and development
Training and development are a constant part of the auditor's role to update your current knowledge and develop your skills. Your employer determines which level of training you partake in, or you can study for training privately.
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA): A postgraduate qualification, recognised globally and the first stepping stone to achieving the status of Chartered Internal Auditor.
- IIA Certificate in Internal Audit and Business Risk: Ideal if you’re new to auditing as it provides the essentials of risk, audit and assurance - and takes around one year.
- Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership (QIAL): Involves three exams in organisational leadership, ethical leadership and internal audit leadership. When completed, you can apply for chartered status.
A role in auditing requires a variety of characteristics and skills to grow, develop and show your passion for the career:
Work experience is always a winner in increasing your chances of a job in auditing and showing your drive for the career.
- Analytical and maths skills: Your days will be spent analysing data, reviewing financial records and crunching numbers so numbers need to be your thing.
- Attention to detail: Auditors inspect complex and often lengthy financial statements, where mistakes can cause serious consequences. You’ll need to be on the ball as an auditor.
- Good under pressure: Strict deadlines are normal in an auditing role and it’s best to be prepared for this level of pressure.
- Organisation: You’ll be working with a selection of different financial records for multiple clients and the right level of organisation will help you stay on top of things.
- Relationship-building and communication skills: Depending on the type of auditor, you could work for various clients and means, you’ll need to understand and adapt to their needs and develop good communication.
Work experience is always a winner in increasing your chances of a job in auditing and showing your drive for the career. Internships and work placements are easy to find throughout consultancy and accountancy firms. Creating a CV and matching cover letter demonstrating your work experience and passion is a great helping hand in securing a role in auditing.
An auditor inspects financial accounts, ensuring they’re accurate and comply with tax laws.
You don’t necessarily require a degree to become an auditor as it’s still possible to enter a role with some pre-entry work experience and acquire an apprenticeship, whilst in a relevant company.
In terms of progression and development in audit jobs, the world is your oyster. It’s possible in all auditor-type roles to go from junior into senior auditor management and chose your route beyond that.
When picking your route into auditing, you can join an accountancy firm to gain relevant qualifications. Or choose a business and learn your skills on the job, it’s down to you which route is better.
When it comes to promotion, there are several ways to do this. You can move up the ladders internally or switch between different companies to widen your knowledge and experience. It’s always good to go into any job and company with an open mind and diversify your skills - as you can move into other areas within an organisation.
Further on in your career, you could work your way up to the director level. Alternatively, you can go down the self-employed route as an internal auditor.