What is an Auditor?

An auditor performs a detailed, independent analysis of financial records and other data to verify that information presented in accounting books and other company or organization records is accurate and complies with applicable laws and accepted accounting practices. Auditors may be hired internally, that is, by the company or organization itself, to go over the company’s books to make sure they comply with company processes and standards in addition to the above. Or, an audit may be external, being ordered by a company’s shareholders or even a court of law. In both cases, the auditor must give an independent and unbiased report of the findings.

Job Responsibilities

The types of auditing you do will determine exactly what your job duties will be. But, in general, an auditor is responsible for any or all of the following:

  • Examining financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations,
  • Collecting and analyzing data to detect deficient controls, duplicated effort, extravagance, fraud, or non-compliance with laws, regulations, and management policies,
  • Inspecting account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures,
  • Supervising auditing of establishments, and determining the scope of investigation required,
  • Assessing financial operations and making best-practices recommendations to management, and
  • Preparing detailed reports on audit findings.

Auditors: Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for auditors should grow 10 percent between 2016 and 2026 – faster than average for all occupations. This growth is driven in part by the growing economy, globalization, and complexities of tax law and regulations. Demand is high for auditors for these reasons alone, and will continue to be so. And, as more companies become publicly traded, properly certified auditors will be necessary to file the reports required by law.

Your prospects may increase if you have a master’s degree in accounting or an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) with a concentration in accounting. Again, earning a CPA will likely give you an advantage over other auditors. Distinguishing yourself with other certifications could also make you more visible to potential employers and clients.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

Auditors are accountants who often review the work of other accountants. So, to become an auditor, you must first obtain a degree in accounting. The majority of employers expect this to be a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related degree. A Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Bryant & Stratton College will equip you for your career as an auditor by preparing you to deal with financial data using GAAPs – Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. You will also learn to work with financial theory and tax laws; to advise management or shareholders by interpreting both financial and non-financial data through theory, knowledge and technology; and to recognize ethical behavior which complies with laws and regulations relevant to the practice of accounting.

With this degree you can become an internal auditor, working for your employer to make sure their policies and practices are followed; that there is no waste or fraud or duplication of effort; and that GAAPs are followed. You may also become an independent external auditor, hired by persons and entities such as corporate stockholders, government agencies, and the courts to review the books and other documents of a corporation, person or agency. Many auditors also rise to management positions within their companies and firms.

Additional Training/Requirements

Probably the most important certification for auditors is the CPA (Certified Public Accountant). A CPA could provide you with better career choices because it shows potential employers and clients that you are well versed in both accounting and auditing. In addition, since the CPA exam also tests “business environment and concepts,” “financial accounting,” and “reporting and regulation,” obtaining this certification displays your ability to audit in all of these settings. This, in turn, increases your visibility and employability. For instance, you can do non-profit and government auditing. Also, with this credential, you can file audit reports with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), something all publicly traded companies or SEC regulated industries must do.

There are also a number of certifications specific to auditors including, from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA):

  • CIA (Certified Internal Auditor),
  • CCSA (Certified in Control Self-Assessment),
  • CGAP (Certified Government Auditing Professional), 
  • CFSA (Certified Financial Services Auditor) and
  • CRMA (Certification in Risk Management Assurance).

Each has an exam as well as educational and experience requirements. The certifications you choose will depend on your preferred career path.

Employment Settings

While some auditors may work in teams, it is much more likely that auditors will work alone. They generally work wherever the records to be reviewed and verified are held, such as corporate offices. This can require travel, both short and long distance. Auditors primarily work full time, and often more than forty hours per week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1 out of 5 accountants and auditors did so.

In general, employment growth of accountants and auditors is expected to be closely tied to the health of the overall economy. As the economy grows, these workers continue being needed to prepare and examine financial records. In addition, as more companies go public, there will be greater need for public accountants to handle the legally required financial documentation.

Bryant & Stratton College cannot guarantee employment in any field.

For insights into the career of auditing, please visit the Business Degrees section of our blog. Here you will find valuable information about business careers. Explore the website and be sure to visit the Accounting Bachelor’s Degree page.

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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