Business and Finance

Life as an External Auditor

I spent almost four years of my life as an external auditor working with a big Firm.  After graduating, I had taught in a University for 1 semester before I finally decided to work as an external auditor and experience the CPA profession at its fullest. Key responsibilities included reviewing spreadsheets, examining financial controls, gauging levels of risks in the organization, ensuring assets are safeguarded, reviewing processes, preparing reports, doing analysis and presenting findings and recommendations to management. I wanted and enjoyed all these, plus, I wanted the corporate look that auditors exude.

The life of an auditor is definitely not easy. A typical day would be going to the work early, facing spreadsheet, trial balances and other schedules that would not even tie up, clients of different personalities, time pressure, deadlines, and then going home late at night just to get some sleep. It’s not at all that bad. Auditors do find a way to enjoy things even at times of extreme stress. We eat out a lot and go for vacations on non-peak seasons, and enjoy the company of each other even when stuck in a client’s office full of dusty files and records.

I have no regrets at all for having stayed in audit for more than 3 years. External auditors can really stand in pride knowing that it is their profession to give confidence to stakeholders of businesses. An auditor understands a business, how it is run and how it manages risks. This gives you an edge on your next career since you are trained to understand the complete business flow, and not focus only on the financial records.  The difficulty you face each day in the different clients you handle also molds you to be very detailed at work and to have strong analytical skills. You also get to improve your time management skills when you are in audit facing time pressure and stress daily.

I am writing this blog because I am forever thankful for my audit experience. I would have stayed if my priorities had not changed back then. My son was already turning three and I knew I needed to give more time for him for his formative years. I may not choose to go back to audit now, but I have achieved what I have achieved now because of the lessons I’ve learned from my work as an external auditor.  I am commended by my employer and clients because of skills that I’ve gained from working with a Big Four. I must add that salary is also good in audit. There are yearly increases and promotions. I reached the Senior Auditor position in less than two years and doubled my first salary. On top of that, I have found close friends in audit. They are friends who I’ve shared the emotional ride that comes with audit seasons.


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