“An auditor’s job is to perform tests of a company’s financial statements and perform other various assurance acts to provide their clients and their client’s stakeholder’s confidence in the preparation of financial statements and confidence in the processes in place at a client’s location. ”
In having performed an audit internship, I would like to believe that I worded this brief description of an auditor’s duties in a way that not everyone would understand, and if you are one of those who does not understand, there is no need to fret. It will come to you. The vocabulary I used, which is hopefully what made my description harder to understand (if it was the way I write what do you expect? I am an accounting major, not an English major), leads to my first audit tip. When you arrive on the first day of your internship, take notes on the vocabulary and acronyms commonly used at the firm. In taking notes, it will provide you more confidence and make you more comfortable in day to day conversations with fellow employees of the firm and their clients. Also, by making it a point to learn this vocabulary and lingo, it will better prepare you to be successful in your internship and in your career as an auditor. One final note in applying this strategy of close observation and use of audit vocabulary is do not be afraid to ask what something means. Most firms love when incoming staff and interns ask questions, so stand out of the crowd and ask!
My second, and equally crucial tip is to refresh your Microsoft Excel, Word, and PDF skills. This is crucial because most firms’ software simply uses these applications for documentation for their work papers. So, by keeping up to date with your knowledge of these applications and by continuously learning new formulas and ways to do tasks in these types of applications, your efficiency on the job will be increased and will surely impress your employer. Even if you refresh your skills and it turns out your firms’ software does not use these applications, these are applications that you will commonly use for tasks outside of the audit, so comprehending how to perform tasks quickly via these applications will make you more efficient and more effective in work and in life.
My third tip for a soon to be (or not soon to be) audit intern would be to not fall into the common college student mindset and think that what you learned in your first two to four years of college was a waste just because a lot of the skills used by an auditor on a daily basis do not seem to implement much of what you learned. When you find yourself in conversation with fellow engagement team members, this knowledge learned throughout your time in college should provide you insight on what is the correct way to account for a specific situation or what a general journal entry to record depreciation should look like. Although you may find yourself during the internship questioning what you learned throughout your time in college and its application to this potential job opportunity you are/will be working at, there will be glimpses of times where you find yourself in a discussion being able to contribute something to the conversation or being able to have some insight on the topic to help the team understand some entry or to catch a potential issue. It is these small things that can generally make or break an engagement and if you keep in mind what you have learned over the past few years, this will contribute to your success as an auditor.
These are three of my main tips I would give to anyone pursuing an internship in the field of audit. With this being said, there are many more resources out there for current and future auditors. So do not be afraid to search the web or even look into and keep up with the current Accounting Standard Updates (ASU). Also, if you are interested in reading about more tips in audit or college or any topic let us know! Feel free to comment on this blog or to contact the blog via the contact tab with your own questions. We would love to help!