An auditor examines financial records to check the integrity and accuracy of the financial information that an organisation has reported.
They can work internally; examining their employer’s policies, procedures and finances and advising where improvements could be made.
Or they can work externally, examining multiple client company accounts for legal purposes (In the UK large companies have to be audited yearly by an external organisation)
This detailed guide includes a full auditor job description and everything else you need to know about auditors, including salaries, skills, qualifications, typical employers and more.
- Auditor job description
- How much do auditors earn?
- What does an auditor do?
- Requirements, skills, and qualifications
- Who employs auditors?
- Which junior jobs progress to auditor roles?
Auditor job description
Auditor |Tulip Accounting
About Tulip Accounting
Established in 1975, Tulip Accounting are a national audit practice comprising of a number of former ‘big four’ managers and partners who have welcomed the opportunity to enjoy a more fulfilling position, building client relationships and shaping the audit practice.
About the role
We are looking for an experienced auditor to scrutinize the financial statements of a variety of organisations and report on their financial positions. Your goal will be to provide useful insights and identify problems in financial records and process. Company shareholders will depend on your evaluations to make informed decisions about the futures of their companies.
- Liaise closely with clients across to understand their business needs and develop an understanding of business and finance processes
- Plan, complete and design bespoke audit procedures and tests
- Attend meetings and interview staff to gather audit evidence such as audit documents and information
- Examine and observe business procedures including stock takes, accounts, financial records, and other documentation
- Analyse data to identify financial reporting errors, fraud, and operational business risks
- Prepare the final audit report, including highlighting issues and problems, and making recommendations for improvements to systems and processes
- Discuss the conclusion and recommendations from the audit with clients, including agreeing recommendations to make improvements
- Assess the existing risk management process, and accurately record the results
- Assess business compliance to rules and regulations, highlighting issues that need addressing
- Manage a variety of stakeholders and their expectations through regular communication
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full time position
- 5 hours per week, Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 17:00
- Based at the Milton Keynes head office with some travel to client sites expected
- Overtime may be required during busy periods
- ACCA, ICAEW or AIA qualified, or part qualified and working towards your qualification (first time passes preferred)
- Proven experience carrying out financial audits for large organisations
- Significant experience of client management within an audit portfolio
- Experience of audit testing, including consolidations, group audits, statutory accounts, and disclosures
- Skilled in data analysis and financial reporting
- Passionate about providing ethical, quality audits
- UK GAAP experience
Contact us to apply
If you’d like to join the growing team at Tulip Accounting, email your CV and a short cover letter detailing your experience to our HR Manager Jane at Jane@TulipAccounting.com.
How much do auditors earn?
Both internal and external auditors earn a good salary. The average salary of an internal auditor is £42,500, and the average salary of an external auditor is slightly higher at £47,500.
Internal auditor salaries in the UK
- Low: £30,600
- Average: £42,500
- High: £57,500
Source: Total Jobs
External auditor salaries in the UK
- Low: £37,500
- Average: £47,500
- High: £62,500
Source: Total Jobs
Auditor salaries will vary depending on the following;
- The size of the employer – e.g. does the auditor work for one of the ‘big four’ global accounting firms, or a small local accountancy practice?
- Internal vs external auditing – e.g. does the auditor work for an accountancy practice externally auditing company accounts, or are they employed directly by their client to audit internal accounts?
- Complexity of finances – e.g. does the auditor audit an online gambling business with millions of variable transactions, or do they audit an independent car wash who sell only one service?
- General salary factors – such as level of candidate experience and location
For example, an auditor working for a small manufacturing company in Huddersfield, internally auditing transactions related to 5 products and 6 staff, is likely to earn a lower salary than an external auditor working for one of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms, auditing multiple big client businesses.
Bear in mind that these are average figures taken from job advert samples, and they do not include extra benefits such as bonuses, overtime, and non-financial benefits such as healthcare.
What does an auditor do?
Although the exact duties and responsibilities of an auditor vary from job description to job description, here are the typical tasks and responsibilities that both internal and external auditors will carry out;
- Investigation – Study company accounts and financial control systems, to understand the company’s financial position
- Interviewing staff – Speak with employees to understand if and how financial processes are being applied
- Ethical audit testing – Assess all financial records for accuracy and reliability
- Ensuring compliance – Check that the company’s financial procedures are compliant with internal company policies, laws, and taxation requirements
- Data analysis – Collect, check, and analyse data using a variety of software and MS Excel
- Risk management – Identify levels of financial risk within organisations and make recommendations to mitigate the risk
- Process improvement – Identify areas where processes are not inefficient and make suggestions for improvements
- Reporting and making recommendations – Prepare reports, commentaries, and financial statements, and present audit findings to key stakeholders
- Implementing recommendations – Support colleagues to make improvements to financial processes, based on audit findings
What do auditors need?
Auditors need a range of skills, knowledge, and qualifications to carry out their role effectively. The exact requirements vary depending on the industry of the employer, and whether the role is that of an internal or external auditor, but this is what is generally required:
Junior auditor roles will usually require the candidate to have some related work experience such as in an accounts department, alongside an interest in pursuing the appropriate professional audit/accounting qualifications.
Senior auditor roles require candidates to have obtained the appropriate professional audit/accounting qualifications, alongside 3-5 years’ experience carrying out audits professionally.
The skills required to be an internal and external auditor are very similar. These skills include:
- Commercial insight: to understand the client’s needs, their business, and the markets in which they operate
- Communication: both written and verbal communication skills, to accurately and clearly present complex information to clients and senior management, and to build successful relationships with and negotiate with clients
- Critical thinking: to carefully review audit evidence and make sound judgements and recommendations
- Ethical standards and integrity: to ensure all audit procedures are completed objectively, confidentially and with integrity
- Project management: to plan and carry out audit activities and to meet deadlines
- Problem solving: to manage unexpected issues and find resolutions to problems found within the audit process
The role specific “hard skills” also include:
- Financial process: to understand the complex financial processes of the company and identify problems/make appropriate recommendations
- Taxation and legislation: to ensure the company is adhering to all applicable taxation laws and legislation
- Data analysis: to effectively interpret and evaluate data and information as part of the audit process
- Accounting software: experience with mainstream accounting software such as Sage and Xero, data analytics software, and modelling tools
Accounting is heavily regulated field and there are several qualifications that auditors are required to hold by law – differing for internal and external positions.
An undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as accountancy, economics, finance, or IT is helpful to pursue a career in internal audit.
It is possible to become an internal auditor without an undergraduate degree if the candidate has some related work experience. The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers two apprenticeship options which are aimed at candidates with some related work experience but who don’t have a degree. These are:
- Internal audit practitioner – a Level 4 apprenticeship which teaches newly appointed internal audit staff all aspects of completing an internal audit
- Internal audit professional – a Level 7 apprenticeship which is designed for individuals in a leadership role, it teaches participants advanced skills in risk management, internal audit, audit team management, and audit delegation
If a candidate qualifies as an accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) they will possess the knowledge and theory to carry out internal audits, however this is not a regulatory requirement. Qualifying as an accountant with CIMA body does not permit the candidate to work as an external auditor.
ACCA, ICAEW or AIA
To work as an external auditor a candidate must first qualify as a chartered accountant and be a registered member and regulated by one of the following professional bodies:
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- The Association of International Accountants (AIA)
There are a variety of ways to qualify with these professional bodies, including:
- Complete a graduate training scheme after completing an undergraduate degree in accountancy
- Complete the National Audit Office 3-year training scheme after completing an undergraduate degree in any subject
- Complete the National Audit Office 5-year training scheme after leaving school with a minimum of 3 A Levels or equivalent qualifications
To carry out external audits in the public sector the candidate must complete a qualification with The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).
What is expected of auditors?
Typically, both internal and external auditors will be expected to commit the following;
- Full time hours – usually 35 – 40 hours per week working
- Overtime – overtime is expected at certain times of the year, such as during tax audit periods or when studying for professional exams
- Location – typically based at the employer’s office, though external auditors can spend periods of time based at their client’s site
- Study – Auditing positions require a high level of qualification, so staff will be expected to study for long periods of time to achieve them
- Regular travel – external auditors are expected to travel to and from their client’s site
Both internal and external auditors receive a good benefits package, although the exact components vary:
- Bonuses – internal auditors are often paid bonuses based on the cost savings they provide, whereas external auditors often don’t receive a performance related bonus until they are working in senior positions
- Car allowance – in roles where travel is required, more common for external auditor positions
- Study leave – Due to the long study periods required, some auditors are given paid leave to study and prepare for exams
Who employs auditors?
Many large companies are legally required to be audited to provide credibility to their financial statements and give their shareholders and HMRC confidence that the reported accounts are accurate and honest.
External auditors often work for a firm of chartered accountants auditing large client companies and may be employed by either large national accountancy firms such as the ‘big four’ (KPMG, EY, PwC and Deloitte), or small accountancy practices. External auditors can also work in the public sector for the National Audit Office, auditing government departments and public bodies.
Although there are no legal requirements for businesses to have internal auditors, many large companies recognise the benefits and choose to have internal auditing departments. This means the pool of employers is large and includes:
- Accountancy firms – these companies employ external auditors to perform audits on behalf of their clients, based within their clients’ business
- Private and publicly traded companies – where internal auditors perform in-house audits within the business
- Public sector – delivering in-house audits in organisations such as central government departments, local authorities, regulators, and higher education establishments
Which junior jobs progress to auditor roles?
There are few career routes into auditing without some form of training or graduate program. The routes also vary depending on whether the candidate is considering internal or external audit:
Junior audit staff member, responsible for assisting the audit team to accurately review the company’s financial activities. This role can lead into that of an internal auditor if the required qualifications are completed.
Qualified chartered accountant
Accountants provide financial and taxation advice to companies. The candidate must be a qualified chartered accountant before they can take the further qualifications to become an external auditor.
Which senior jobs do auditors progress to?
Both internal and external auditors can progress into several senior positions within the finance field, such as:
Senior auditors are typically responsible for overseeing the entire auditing process for a company. They delegate auditing duties to other members of the team and oversee the work of others. They may also have junior and staff auditors reporting directly to them.
A financial controller is a senior position within a finance team. They oversee the finance function of a company, ensuring that all accounting records are kept appropriately and money is managed optimally.
The finance director is a senior leadership position within a business. They complete general management duties such as hiring staff and create strategic plans regarding the company’s finances.
Auditor job description – conclusion
Working as an auditor is a highly skilled role and is in high demand across the UK from a wide range of industries and employers.
As many companies see the benefit of hiring an internal auditor a good remuneration package is usually offered, alongside a positive work life balance.
Equally, working for one of the ‘big four’ accountancy practices as an external auditor offers exceptional career progression and the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients across a wide range of industries.