Auditors have a powerful role within the company they are working for, and they have a noteworthy amount of responsibility and skills within the company. There are a number of different types of auditors. In general, people in auditing careers inspect, review, analyze, and evaluate various aspects of the inner-workings of the company. This includes processes, services, systems, organizations, and employees.
In addition, auditors determine the timeliness and accuracy of organizational information, which extends to the sources and means of production of that information. For instance, accountants will often produce financial statements for the review of management, and part of an auditor’s job might be to assess the accuracy of the reports that accountant is producing.
Some areas which might be an auditor’s job to review follow:
- Financial reporting
- Supply chain
- Information technology
- Transfer-of-payment processes
- Expense accounts
- Tax and government compliance
- Internal controls
- Hiring practices
- Employee performance
- Environmental impact
- Hiring practices
Auditors also look at the more strategic and conceptual aspects of the company. Things such as the internal controls of an organization fall under their jurisdiction. Internal controls include those which prevent theft, data manipulation, or other types of corruption.
To those ends, auditors use statistical sampling and work with upper management to target problem areas within the organization. Many times, problems are the result of inefficiencies; however, there are occasions when an auditor will be confronted with information most people would rather not know, and would certainly rather not be required to do anything about.
For this reason, in order to be a great auditor, one needs a strong ethical foundation and a rigorous backbone. There are often minor errors that would be easy to explain, and which would require a significant amount of work to get to the bottom of, but which it is the job of the auditor to check thoroughly to ensure the efficiency of the organization to which he/she belongs.
Therefore, one of the typical characteristics of an auditor is a talent with quantitative skills. Analytical and evaluative mental processes are also important, and so are skills like them. However, due to the personal nature of the work, a strong social skill set helps immensely. On the one hand, strong interpersonal skills bring the necessary nuance to the demands of investigating coworkers without causing undue stress on the organization’s main functions.
So auditors need to be able to ask employees for information, even when those employees do not want to provide that information. This requires patience in some cases and persistence in others.
Great communication skills provide a basis for positive rapport with other employees. However, at the same time, a certain amount of professional distance is required by the job, as it is the auditor’s job to remain as objective as possible. So even if his/her friend is suspect of corrupt activity, an auditor should be able to investigate and report that activity.
There are a number of educational requirements for becoming an auditor, and these include Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Safety Auditor (CSA), and more. There is a certain amount of credibility typically attached to each, and it depends on which organization you talk to as to the response you will receive.
Average salary in 2008: $59,430
Projected growth: Well above the national average, 22% growth between 2008 and 2018
If interested in becoming an auditor, please check out the certification resource on this Web site, which lays out some of the groundwork for how to proceed with the certification process.