Working as an auditor is a precise and in depth role tracking the financial records of firms, and ensuring that the paperwork is fully up to date. Reviewing the accounts, collating data, identifying any problems in processes and record keeping and making sure that tax information is properly recorded and submitted is all part of the auditor’s responsibility.
There are many ways an auditor can work, either within a company or as an external body who comes in to investigate and check the records of a business to ensure they are abiding by their financial responsibilities.
There are roles for auditors within the public and private sectors and each have their positives and their unique challenges.
Public sector auditing – for local or central government – involves investigating the way that public money is spent and invested, and where or if there could be changes made to this spending to ensure that people are protected, services run smoothly and efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided is high.
Private sector auditing usually means working within a company, in house or outsourced to other businesses working with or for their employer. The key role for private sector auditors is ensuring that the business is efficient and profitable.
The days in private auditing can be long – particularly around the end of the tax year when the business needs to ensure that the financial paperwork is fully up to date and correct, and it’s the auditor’s job to check this.
The key difference in auditing as a career between the public and private sectors is that public sector bodies generally provide a service, and private sector companies make a profit – so understanding where and how money is made and spent is handled very differently.
In the public sector an auditor will be expected to report on where money could be used more efficiently and where savings might be made in order to make better use of public money.
In the private sector it is more about ensuring that the records are correct and that there are clear ways of tracking profit whilst maintaining full records.
Whichever path you follow into a career in auditing you will need excellent numerical and IT skills, and have a meticulous and detailed approach to record keeping. To work in the private sector you will first need to qualify as an accountant in order to fully carry out your role. In the public sector you are more able to enter without accountancy qualifications as the role is slightly different – but it is still as important to have a methodical and meticulous approach to the work.
It is possible to move from private to public sector auditing, or vice versa, as there are transferrable skills but the roles can be quite different day to day.