If you have the confidence to ask tough questions, a career in auditing might be the right choice for you. Here we break down why you might consider a career in that area.
Should I become an auditor? What does an auditor do?
Auditors inspect the accounts, processes and procedures of a business to ensure they’re correct and comply with the law. The Financial Reporting Council – the UK’s audit regulator – says “professional scepticism” is vital to a high-quality audit. So you’ll need to challenge the numbers, and question things that don’t look right to you.
You can also act in an advisory capacity to recommend risk-aversion measures and cost savings. All of which is a far cry from the misconception that auditing is ‘dull’.
So audit isn’t boring?
Many think the profession is about ticking boxes and crunching numbers. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Audit is a people business. You’ll work in a collaborative team environment and often with people from other departments.
As an external auditor, you’ll get to meet new people all the time and work with companies from lots of different industries.
Which also means opportunities to travel. Auditors are often out and about, meeting clients across the country or even the world, so your working environment could be constantly changing.
What’s the salary and career path?
Auditing is a stable career with high earning potential. The average salary ranges from a starting point of £23,000 and can rise to £65,000 and beyond for an experienced auditor (according to the National Careers Service, December 2021).
As an experienced external auditor, you could move into management and then become a partner or finance director. You could also set up your own accountancy practice.
As an experienced internal auditor – where you’ll work in a large business conducting audits on the company’s own accounts – the management route is also open to you. Alternatively, you could become a chartered internal auditor, or a self-employed consultant.
How do I get into a career in auditing?
To become an auditor, you’ll first need to gain a chartered accountancy qualification. Find out how in our article - Your guide to starting out in Auditing.
Ways to answer the “Why audit?” interview question
Don’t be tempted to wing it in an interview. “What attracts you to auditing?” or “Why do you want to be an auditor?” is almost certainly going to come your way in an audit job interview. You need a solid – and genuine – response. This is not your cue to draw on generic responses such as “I have a passion for numbers”. Instead, focus on your personal skills; show how they can fit into the wider context of the role; and talk about the team environment.
For instance, you could highlight how your keen eye for detail and diligence in fact-checking is a good match for the most important elements of an auditor’s role – making sure there are no errors, and weeding out inconsistencies.
Then touch on your emotional intelligence and ability to communicate effectively. Being able to build trust and develop strong relationships with your team and your clients is a big part of the job. So talk about how you enjoy collaborating with other people. And if you’re going for an external auditor job, let them know you’re interested in seeing how other businesses operate.
If auditing sounds like the career for you, Kaplan can help you get started. You can study audit as part of the ACCA or ACA (ICAEW) qualification, or as part of the Level 4 Internal Audit Practitioner Apprenticeship (to gain the IIA and CIA qualification).