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Hints on how to be a good auditor
March, 03rd 2010

An auditor has to keep himself abreast of the latest developments in the audit field by constant upgradition of his skills and knowledge through Internet, seminars, self-study and correspondence course. 

The Satyam multi-crore scam is still fresh in peoples mind and investigations are in progress with the Chairman and Chief Finance Officer in jail pending investigation.
Suddenly, there seems to have been a debate on the role of auditors, internal as well as external. In future, the role of these auditors would be under the scanner. People expect them to be independent and honest and would not connive with the management to hide scams or dubious dealings under the carpet.

Role of auditor

An auditor is expected to serve as the eyes and ears of a management. A timely warning followed by corrective measures prevents a problem becoming too big or embarrassing later on to handle. Thats why an auditor has to be on his toes all the time and serve the management faithfully and that too without any personal bias or influenced by anyone, internal or external. Its a highly responsible job and so the skills required are somewhat different from a job, which is done routinely. An auditors job could be interesting as well as challenging. However, there could be never a dull moment provided the auditor gives up his mindset that an auditors job is routine and not interesting enough like a research and development job.

The interest in certification as per International Standards like ISO 9000 by companies has given rise to opportunities for the auditors whose demand is increasing day by day thanks to the ever growing global business trends that call for International recognition of systems, procedures and qualified personnel.

There are consultive firms and independent consultants who take up certification on behalf of clients who could be national or international. The global meltdown has affected job opportunities in various sectors but the demand for auditors has not changed much considering the importance this job.

An auditor besides being qualified and experienced, should be a person who:

*Has a pleasant personality

*Is unbiased

*Does not act superior

*Does not throw his / her weight around

*Is patient and listens more and talks less.

*Does not sermonise

*Has a keen nose, ear and eye for deviations and out-of-the-ordinary

*Has communication skills

*Can prepare good reports

*Is fearless and independent but not aggressive

*Takes up the job seriously and with dedication

*Is ethical and honest to the core

Auditors are needed in every business house, industry and any activity that calls for independent internal or  external assessment.

Types of auditors

There are management auditors, financial auditors, quality auditors, quantity auditors, system auditors, energy auditors and so on. Qualification for an auditor depends upon which area one wants to become an auditor.

For example a prospective financial auditor should be a qualified graduate in commerce or  finance or a chartered accountant. Those who intend to do systems audit might be graduate in any discipline. However, a person with an engineering background would be better suited for doing energy or process audit in an industry. Sometimes a jack-of-all-trade is preferred given the wide and varied background of that person.

Added asset

Experience of working in a business house or industry is an asset as that person would have been exposed to actual working conditions.

In general auditing is done with a written set of questions that are known to the clients too so that they are prepared themselves with set of responses. Whether a business house, factory or company is conforming to what is supposed to be doing as laid down in a manual is what should come out of an audit with suggestions for compliance.

An auditor has to keep himself abreast of the latest developments in the audit field by constant upgradition of his skills and knowledge through Internet, seminars, self-study and correspondence course. These are challenging times for auditors who could look for lucrative offers by clients.

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