Skill Sets for Associate Auditor Positions

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Associate auditors, as one might expect, work within a company or government agency's accounting and finance department. Usually, they shadow the senior auditors for a period of time, usually a year or more, but sometimes less than a year. They work closely with members in finance and payroll and ensure their employer is in compliance with legal, financial, and government guidelines. These positions require focus, dedication, and commitment.

Employment opportunities for those in this sector are considered excellent, and recent graduates tend to secure positions quite easily. Educational requirements include four-year degrees in finance and/or business. These entry-level jobs promote into senior positions rapidly for those who have strong skill sets; and training is often done on the job since each company differs in their requirements. Employers often provide incentives to those who successfully complete the training since they see these auditors as investments in their companies. Naturally, prior experience is usually not required since recent college graduates tend to apply for these new jobs. Strong GPAs are extremely important if there is a lack of experience on the candidate’s part.

As previously mentioned, the duties and expectations of candidates will vary from one company to another; however, a general overview might include providing assistance to employees or customers, especially with payroll, taxes, and retirement issues. Associate auditors will also complete research and file reports with accurate information that has been sourced and verified. Auditors often are the points of contact for Internal Revenue Service representatives and provide documentation, disclosures, and results of internal audits. Strong detail to attention and an insistence for accuracy are must-have qualities.

Other factors include an assertive personality due to the possibility of researching inaccuracies and the need to possibly question employees or others regarding financial discrepancies on documents such as expense reports and receipts. Dependability and the ability to maintain confidentiality are absolute musts as well. These are sometimes high-pressure positions; however, the right candidates can effectively deal with stress-related issues and act accordingly. Strong experience in accounting software and spreadsheets are a must, as well as the ability to discover errors and act quickly to correct them.

Income potential varies, but generally speaking, those just beginning their careers can anticipate salaries between $40,000 and $72,000. Of course these numbers aren’t set in stone, and it’s important to realize the number of factors that are considered by potential employers as they attempt to gain the best new talent. Promotional opportunities exist for those who show exceptional promise.

Because this field is expected to grow faster (a steady 18 percent growth is expected) than others over the next decade, the demand for focused and educated job candidates will grow as well. For those who express an interest in forensic accounting, the opportunities have doubled in the past sixteen months. Part of this quick growth can be attributed to recent scandals among some of the largest corporations in the country. White-collar crime has become an epidemic and more CEOs and other company heavy-hitters have found themselves on the wrong end of an audit notice. Again, this is where an assertive personality can be vital during these uncomfortable interviews and audits.

For those interested in pursuing careers in auditing and associated positions must recognize and accept the responsibility that comes with these roles. It’s not uncommon, even for associate auditors, to report directly to company management or executive officers. New legislation is written often, and as a result, companies must strive to remain current and to ensure they have not missed any new guidelines or laws set forth by the government. This important responsibility falls within a company’s descriptions of accounting and auditing jobs and must be adhered to.
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