An auditor is a qualified accountant, often a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), who examines and analyzes an organization’s financial records to judge their status and standing. An auditor might inspect corporate financial transactions or an individual’s income tax filings.
To succeed as an auditor, one must be skilled with numbers, attentive to detail, patient, persistent and flexible enough to adjust strategies and procedures to accommodate new data, laws and regulations. Good communication skills are also valuable, as the auditor will often be required to explain complicated financial interactions and procedures to all levels of management and individual clients.
Employment as an auditor most often requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree, particularly a master of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in accounting, is often preferred. Many organizations require that candidates for an auditor position acquire several years of work experience, on-the-job training, vocational training or some combination of this practical experience.
The fundamental responsibilities of an auditor include collecting and analyzing data to detect deficient controls, duplicated efforts, fraud or non-compliance with laws, regulations and management policies. Additional tasks and job duties of an auditor may include:
A handful of auditors move to positions in bank operations, budgeting offices, financial analysis, management consulting, full-service brokerage firms and even the FBI to track, analyze and report on illegal interstate money transfers and hidden asset recovery.
Employment opportunities for auditors and accountants are always good, and their services remain high in demand. Figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that the median annual salary for auditors was about $54,630 in 2006. Additionally, the BLS projects employment opportunities for auditors to be excellent well into the next decade.