Research states that employment of auditors will be growing during the next 10 years. On the other hand, there are some studies pointing out the decreasing appetite in choosing auditing as a profession, which leaves the companies with the trouble of finding the right talent. Indeed, this is not an easy dilemma to overcome, unless the auditing companies and the industries work together to make the job an interesting one to take.
There are a couple of misconceptions about auditing which we may need to deal with in the first place:
1. Auditing is a routine job.
Auditing is the process of assessment and ascertaining of financial, operational, and strategic goals and processes in organizations to determine whether they are in compliance with the stated principles and regulations. There is always a standardized approach to what should be assessed. From this point of view, auditing could be seen as a routine, to check the same boxes wherever the individual goes as an auditor. Indeed, auditing is never a dull job for a couple good reasons. Although the set of principles are the same, their interpretations and implications will not necessarily be the same and may differ from one location to another. And with the current pace of change, we should not expect the set of principles remain the same for a long period of time either. Every single audit is a completely new experience for the auditor and the auditee.
2. Auditing is not promising a future career.
Auditing is like total body fitness, giving you lots of opportunities to strengthen your weak muscles. Are you having problems to announce the bad news and make it sound rather a great improvement opportunity? Are you willing to learn more about the operations in the company and do not know where to start? Do you believe you have a long way to go to be able to reflect your thinking into your writing? Do you want to create a network of people in the company, including the top management, who may help you explore opportunities for the future? Do you want to develop your resiliency? Be our guest and welcome to the world of auditing. The challenges faced during the audits will stretch you to the limits and help you realize your true potential.
3. Auditing does not provide a good work-life balance.
It is true that an auditor will be spending most of his/her time away from home. Yes, indeed hours will be spent in the airplanes and at airports. A few flights, if not more, will be missed. Your luggage will not always arrive on time or can even get lost. Sleeping in different hotels every other week is not always fun. In order to survive within this pace, you need to develop two important skills. One is being very well organized and the other is being flexible. They may look alike and irrelevant, but they complement to each other. You need to be organized well to be able to navigate through a very busy schedule, but also be flexible and prepared for the last-minute changes. This gives you the required skills for a balanced life, both emotionally and physically. An experienced auditor would know how to spend his/her time at his/her best also when not travelling for business. Family time is spent to its full.
Is auditing an easy task? Definitely not. It can even be exhausting. But as Nietzsche once said: “What does not kill me, makes me stronger”. Auditing is clearly a profession with important challenges, which pays reasonably well in return.
The recipe for a good quality auditor is rather complex. It requires a high level of education to start with, that germs through a bunch of technical skills acquired in the industry and then blended with the right level of soft skills. Auditing is for sure not a lifetime job for most people but will provide lots of opportunities to grow into other roles. And here comes the most desired ingredient: the commitment. The commitment from the auditor to improve, the commitment from the hiring company to develop and the commitment from the industry to support the future career of auditors.
By Tülay Kahraman
February 1, 2021