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Do you enjoy investigating? Are you interested in finance and business? Whether you are looking for a new career, or are in search of the right career, the exciting profession of auditing could be just the right fit for you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that over 140,000 new jobs will be created for accountants and auditors between 2016 and 2026. And, the field is growing faster than the average for all other occupations.
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.
What can I do with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree in Accounting?
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.
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):
Each has an exam as well as educational and experience requirements. The certifications you choose will depend on your preferred career path.
Job Responsibilities of Auditors
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:
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.
Employment Settings for Auditors
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.
The BLS reports that about 1.4 million jobs were held by accountants and auditors in 2016. The biggest employers of accountants and auditors at that time were those involved in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services at about 25 percent. Government comprised about 8 percent of employment, while finance and insurance made up another 8 percent. About 7 percent worked as management of companies and enterprises. Another 7 percent of accountants and auditors were self-employed individuals in 2016.
While this information may help you in determining the right career path for you, understand that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is intended to provide insight into occupational opportunities, and is not to be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Bryant & Stratton College cannot guarantee employment in any field.