The audit world isn’t as scary as people make it out to be. But there are things that you can only learn in the audit profession through experience and not in the classroom. Here are some of the biggest takeaways I learned as a first year auditor:
Audits generally include one to two weeks of fieldwork where the auditors will be gathering and analyzing evidence as well as interacting with the client directly. More importantly, auditors will utilize this time in the field to set up meetings to perform any interviews with process owners, observing physical operations and conditions, and determining if appropriate action has been taken in regard to any concerns reported in prior audits. From experience, it can be difficult to reach out to the client once you’re offsite. So it’s important to manage your time onsite appropriately and set time aside to analyze any evidence provided as well as schedule any meetings with the client to discuss any questions regarding evidence that was provided or to gain a better understanding of the activity or process.
Communication is Key
Whether it is a first year client or an old client, one thing is certain, both parties want the audit to be performed correctly in the most efficient and effective way possible. So it’s important that auditors learn to communicate their requests in a manner that the client will be able to understand how to deliver that request. Clients may not be familiar with certain audit terms and auditors must find common ground to ensure the success of the audit. Once that common ground is found, the client will now know what type of information and documentation the auditor is requesting, which will allow the client to gather evidence more effectively for future audits. Also, keeping the client informed regarding any pending questions, outstanding requests, and scheduled meetings will not only aid in the completion of the audit, but continually build on relationships with the client.
Together Everyone Achieves More
It can be daunting as a first year auditor being assigned to a difficult engagement, but you’ll always be part of an audit team. Learning to work well with others is not only important to your success in the audit profession, but in life in general. Being proactive and helping team members with tasks such as gathering and reviewing evidence, documenting audit working papers, performing interviews with process owners, etc. will help the team work toward a common goal. Difficult engagements are no longer difficult when everyone is on the same page and works effectively to complete the engagement as a team. Additionally, you will find camaraderie among the team and gain the respect of your peers as someone who is a team player.
Taking Everything In
My biggest takeaway was learning to take everything in as a first year auditor. The transition from student to auditor can be overwhelming and it’s understandable. Just have a positive attitude and the eagerness to learn as much as you can. Asking relevant questions and taking notes will help you take in this brand new experience. You’ll be working with intelligent individuals from a range of industries and surrounding yourself with great coworkers. All in all, just enjoy the ride!