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Helping you find a career in the audit industry
Auditors conduct an “audits” which are investigations into the accuracy of the accounts of a business. Auditors usually spend their time working with different business clients to scrutinise the work of their finance team.
As an auditor you're most likely to be employed by an audit or professional services firm. You'll be expected to have an unbiased approach when conducting your work.
Types of jobs within audit
There are various roles with audit, some of these include:
Internal auditor- working within an organisation to ensure their finances are correct and compliant
External auditor - working for an audit firm, dealing with different clients
Tax auditor - a branch of audit that ensures clients are complying with tax laws
Forensic auditor - a specific type of audit that investigates potential fraudulent activity
You'll need to have a head for numbers to have a career in audit. Clear communication, diligence and teamwork are also vital. You'll need to have a highly professional manner and have the ability to explain complicated situations to others in a simple way.
Other important skills are:
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Audit
You'll need to study and pass a number of exams to qualify as an auditor. These may be sponsored by your employer, especially if you're in a large organisation. The exact time it takes to qualify will depend on your organisation and your own success within the programme.
The two qualifications you can take are:
ACA (Association of Chartered Accountants) - 15 professional qualification exams, taken over approximately three years
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) - 14 professional qualification exams, taken over approximately four years
Some of the biggest and most respected audit and professional services firms offer graduate schemes, which are highly structured and last two to three years. Gaining a place on these can be tough, but they're a great way to progress quickly.
Once you're qualified, you can go on to become an audit manager, financial analyst or a finance manager.
Tips for getting into the field
Audit is a competitive and popular industry, especially if you want a job in the most prestigious companies, so it's important to know what employers look for.
Obviously, a strong head for maths and a clear and defined logical approach are both essential.
There are also a large number of general, non-industry-related things you can do to put yourself in a good position to start applying for jobs. These include:
Tailoring your CV for each specific role - make sure you focus on previous experience and relevant skills
Applying for internships and work experience - it'll show you're experienced, committed and have the required skills
Take on similar roles - during holidays or whilst you apply for higher-level roles after graduation
See what the top companies in the field require- start by looking for case studies from the big firms, and note what backgrounds and skills their current employees have
Get the relevant accreditation- in this case, the ACA or ACCA is what you need to be working towards
Use your contacts - university professors, those you met on work experience, people you can approach through social media or LinkedIn - they're all potentially the stepping stone to your next role, and they might be happy to help you
How much can graduates earn in Audit?
Graduates working as trainee auditors are likely to earn between £20,000 and £30,000. You can earn up to £60,000 with a few years of experience.
At the highest levels this industry pays higher salaries than many other careers, with many people earning over £60,000 per year.
Here are some average salaries for different levels within the audit sector:
What qualifications do I need for a career in Audit?
Graduates in mathematics-based subjects such as finance or economics are best suited to positions within this industry, although with further study (ACCA, ACA, CIMA or similar) you can pursue this area even if your degree isn't directly related.
Having said that, there are some degrees that are likely to lead you directly into this area. Many auditors will have studied the following subjects: