Getting an Audit Job When You're Not an Auditor
Switching careers is a huge step and it can take investing both your money and your time to successfully jump from one career to another. This process is generally not easy, especially for those who have a mortgage to pay, a family to support, or a car to worry about. However, if you’re really interested and dedicated to moving into auditing from your current career, here’s how you can do it:
1. Know what it takes to become an auditor.
The first step is to ensure that you are qualified to become an auditor. The basic required qualifications are a bachelor’s degree in the field of finance, accounting or business administration. Most firms will also require specific accounting certifications or qualifications like CPA, ACCA, and ACA. You will also have better chances of landing an auditing job if you have skills and experience in your current career that can be transferred across to the audit field.
2. Determine if you possess required traits and characteristics.
There are few personal characteristics that are extremely important for you to succeed in the field of auditing. Some of them are the following:
- Attention to detail. This is defined as thoroughness in accomplishing tasks by showing concern to all the areas involved, regardless how small a detail may be. It also means efficiently monitoring and checking information or work to ensure that the end results are accurate and complete.
- Exceptional communication skills. As an auditor, the job will require you to build rapport with people that you work with. These include the clients, the top management, your co-auditors, and other staff within the business. It is important that you have the ability to effectively communicate with all of these people to ensure a harmonious working relationship.
- A thirst for knowledge. You cannot afford to stop learning in the field of auditing. In order to succeed and to increase your chances for career advancements, you must always strive to cultivate a deep knowledge of your company, the competitive environment, and the key players. You must also update yourself with new processes that can help you complete your assigned tasks faster and more efficiently, and new guidelines and standards introduced by accounting regulatory bodies.
3. Understand the roles and responsibilities of auditors.
Before you switch careers, you need to understand what is expected of you when you become an auditor.
Generally speaking, in an audit job you may be asked to:
- Review, analyse and evaluate products, processes, systems, services, employees and organisations
- Assess the accuracy, reliability and validity of organisational information
- Inspect the company’s internal controls to manage risk exposures
- Ensure effectiveness of operational and financial reporting
It can also help to look at the job descriptions of audit vacancies that are currently being advertised on job websites such as CareersinAudit.com. These can give you a good idea of the skills, qualifications and experience desired by companies who are recruiting auditors right now.
4. Interview people who are already auditors.
Take the time to interview auditors you may know, preferably who those who have been working in the profession for at least 3-5 years. You will want to ask what their working day is like, the salary that they receive, the benefits that they get to enjoy, their working hours, etc. By asking those who already work in audit what their jobs are like, you will get a clearer picture of what you may be doing once you switch to audit yourself. This can help you figure out if auditing is a career that will be rewarding for you.
5. Get trained.
Switching careers may mean you need to undergo some training to meet the requirements of your new role. This could take the form of doing an internship or taking training courses. Check if the firms in your area require applicants to undertake specific training or complete courses related to auditing. Some firms may prefer candidates who have done an internship or who have worked with or shadowed an auditor before.
6. Find the best firms to work for.
If you’re 100% certain that auditing is for you, the next step is to find the firms that you would want to work for. You can do this by searching the Internet or asking your personal contacts about companies that have job vacancies. You can also use online networking to investigate the who works for the companies you like and where they worked previously to get to where they are now. Some of your criteria for choosing a potential company to apply to may include salary levels, benefits, and opportunities for growth with the firm.
If the option is available and financially viable, you may wish to volunteer for the company that you like the most. This will give you an idea if they are the perfect fit for you. This will also give you that much needed experience if you haven’t worked in an audit related field before, and can help you prove your work ethic. This can increase your chances of getting hired once the voluntary period is over, especially if you demonstrate excellent work habits to your immediate supervisors.
7. Prepare an excellent resume and cover letter.
Sometimes the only way to present yourself to a potential employer will be through the standard recruitment channel of applying for an advertised vacancy with your CV and a cover letter. Ensure that your resume explains why you are the perfect person for the job, even though you may not have worked in audit before. Make it detailed, but make sure the details are relevant to the job you are applying for. Highlight your key experience and skills that will show how suitable you are to an auditing job.
Your cover letter should make a point of explaining why you are making a change from your current career into audit, and explain they key reasons why you will be suitable for this new field. Make is clear that you have done the research into switching careers and have made an educated decision to change, rather than just applying for something different on a whim.
8. Ace your interviews.
Put your best foot forward each time you get an interview. The goal is to impress potential employers and convince them that you are the best candidate for the job. Make sure you go into each interview prepared by researching the company and anticipating common questions that the HR staff may ask you. You must also be prepared to convincingly explain why you have decided to change from your current field to a job in auditing. Prepare examples of experiences you have from your current work which will map over to the audit role being offered.
As with any career change, a switch to auditing can be a challenging move to make, but will ultimately be rewarding if you have done the research and decided that auditing is the career for you.