How lofty are your career ambitions? If you’re aiming for the top, it might interest you to know that an accounts background will hold you in good stead. Figures from the Global Accounting Network reveal that more than 50% of FTSE 100 CEOs are finance professionals, while 18% hold an accountancy qualification. It is their solid understanding of budgets and ability to forecast that gives boards confidence when appointing for key positions.
Auditing experience, however boring it can seem, can also get you to the boardroom as it provides you with a broad depth of insight across a business. It can be an ambitious step up or an interesting sideways move, drawing on numerical strength, accountancy principles and a desire to make sure things add up. Unlike accountants, auditors also need strong investigative skills and possess a detective-like level of inquisition. In fact, many auditors thrive on the hunt for inconsistencies and financial black holes.
Job opportunities in auditing are robust, with the likes of the Government, the Internal Revenue Service and many regulatory bodies recruiting auditors, in addition to third-party companies and businesses directly. When it comes to career progression, as the FTSE 100 CEO research suggests, many companies favour the financially minded when appointing partners, and a detailed understanding of a firm’s financial health will smooth the path to senior management positions.
What do auditors do?
Auditors are skilled finance specialists who review the accounts and financial statements of a business. They assess the validity and legality of their records, spot irregularities and look out for instances of fraud. An auditor can also act in an advisory capacity, suggesting possible risk aversion measures and cost savings that could be made.
Who would suit an auditing role?
The very nature of auditing means attention to detail is paramount, so if you could spot when £10,000 should have been £100,000 amongst a sea of numbers, then auditing might be for you. Auditors generally have a head for figures, an excellent grasp of Excel and accounting packages, and stamina to get stuck in to wide-reaching investigations.
There is a particular rhythm attached to auditing too. Although some find it monotonous, others find it comforting – soothing even. If you work for a third-party auditor, pace and dynamism comes in the shape of working for multiple clients across a broad section of industries at any one time. In-house auditors are generally rewarded with dependable career progression and more high profile, interesting work as they build up a bank of experience.
Do auditors need specific qualifications?
Most auditors, especially those with an accountancy background, have taken and passed a specific accountancy exam set by one of the main three providers: ACA, ACCA or CIMA. Within these organisations are specific audit exams, such as Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA) from the ACCA.
Those with an accounts background can also sit the Certified Internal Auditor and Chartered Internal Auditor exams run by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors. Those new to finance altogether have the option of taking the IIA Certificate in Internal Audit and Business Risk – which covers auditing basics and provides a pathway to higher level qualifications.
Bond Williams represents a number of companies and organisations where the recruitment of auditors is pivotal to their financial health. If you are working in accounts and would like to make the transition to auditing, or you’re already an auditor looking for promotion or a fresh challenge, contact us to start your job search.