When many people hear the word “audit”, their first thought usually has a negative connotation, with images of the IRS taking them away in handcuffs for tax evasion. In reality, auditors provide a service to every size business across every industry. Auditors ensure that the financial records are relevant and reliable so users can make informed operating, financial, and investment decisions.
One of the biggest factors that drive people to the audit profession is the multitude of opportunities that extend beyond the traditional accounting firm. Auditing gives young professionals a very wide base of knowledge and a thorough understanding of how businesses actually work, which creates a very strong candidate for positions across many industries. Several of my colleagues have left public accounting to pursue opportunities such as fighting white collar crime with the FBI, investment banking, data research and analysis, and within various accounting governing bodies.
Auditing goes well beyond the debits and credits of a particular client. Communication, relationships, and critical thinking are all equally important to being a successful auditor. The stereotypical view of an accountant involves an employee stuck in the back cubicle alone with little to no human interaction. This could not be further from the truth in the audit profession. As an auditor, it is essential to communicate and collaborate with team members and client management to achieve common goals.
Just in my fourth year of working as an auditor, I have had clients in biomedical research, commercial real estate, petrochemical manufacturing, hospitality, and financial service industries. I have had access to CEOs and CFOs of large multinational organizations, as well as proprietors of mom and pop style small businesses. I cannot think of another career path that will give young professionals the amount of exposure that I have received in such a short time frame. Although I might be a little biased, there is no better way to start your career than becoming an auditor.