February 8, 2017
What Is an Auditor?
With a projected growth rate of 11 percent over the next eight years, auditing is one of the fastest-growing professions around. Because it can provide exposure to many sectors of the economy (including tech, media, and sports), it’s also among the most exciting professions in which to be involved. To learn more about the world of auditing, we sat down with the team at the CAQ (Center for Audit Quality) to find out why auditing can be a great career path for recent grads.
Here are some of the key things you need to know about being an auditor.
What is an auditor?
An auditor is a professional—usually a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)— who reviews financial records to check their accuracy. Depending on their specialty, auditors can work for corporations, government agencies, or public accounting firms. Public company auditing is one of the most popular types of auditing, focusing on reviewing the financial records of companies in a broad range of industries including media and tech.
What do auditors do and why is it important?
Auditors are professionals who play a valuable role in business as they work to verify a company’s financial health by checking the accuracy of its financial statements. This information is then used by investors, banks, and by the companies themselves to make relevant business decisions.
Do I need a CPA license to be an auditor?
The short answer is no. The slightly longer answer is that it depends on your career aspirations. Although it’s possible to work for a public accounting firm without having your CPA license, most auditors choose to take the exam in order to expand their opportunities and their expertise, as well as to increase earning potential. The exam, which is called the Uniform CPA Examination, is developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and consists of four sections, each focusing on one specific aspect of accounting such as auditing or financial regulation.
Pro Tip: Although taking the CPA exam requires time and dedication, it definitely comes with rewards. Once you pass the test, your earning potential increases by 10 percent and continues to go up from there. It’s also a high valued credential in the broader business world.
What are the benefits of working in auditing?
With plenty of opportunities to travel and learn about new industries, auditing has a lot of benefits. “One of the things that I like best about public accounting is that you get to travel to where your clients are,” explains Ben, an auditor from Chicago who frequently travels around the country to conduct audits. In addition to making the most of travel opportunities, many auditors enjoy the novelty of growing their professional connections within their firms and at the companies they audit and gaining exposure to different industries. Another great perk is the flexibility. Since some of the work involved in auditing can be done autonomously, many auditors are able to work remotely if needed.
You might say that auditors are in the people business. That is, they work with a variety of people at all levels of a company to better understand its financial statements. They also team up with colleagues to achieve a common goal. Many auditors say this is the reason they enjoy their work so much. Rather than sitting behind a desk all day, they are learning the language of business in face-to-face meetings. This interaction helps them build the foundation of a successful career within a public accounting firm or in any business.
What is a typical auditor salary?
Auditing is not only a stable field but also a lucrative one. Entry-level auditors typically earn around $52,000, while auditors with one to two years of experience earn upwards of $65,000. Even more impressive, an analysis by the CAQ showed that many audit partners in large public accounting firms can make close to a million dollars a year.
With high projected growth and stability, auditing is an ideal career path for recent grads who are interested in a rewarding profession with many opportunities.