If you are inspired to choose auditing as a career, then, as a next step, you need to find out how to join an audit firm or how to get enrolled in a Big 4 audit firm or what is the best audit firm for your career.
To become an auditor, you need to choose an audit firm. An audit firm is mandated and has a license to perform external audits of different companies for regulatory and other purposes. An audit firm would have a typical structure of some audit staff, audit managers and audit partners.
To join an external audit firm, ideally, you should be a university graduate with majors in accounting, finance or economics. There are many audit firms which hire engineers, scientists, IT professionals, architects and graduates of other disciplines. This diversity is because an audit firm will have a variety of clients and a variety of engagements. They will have clients in healthcare, engineering firms, construction, technology and financial sector. So having a workforce from a variety of backgrounds help an audit firm understand their clients closely and to assess audit risks in a better way.
Many audit firms also require professional accountancy qualifications like CPA, CIA, ACA and ACCA etc. They don’t expect you to have completed the studies fully, but if you have progressed somewhat towards these qualifications, it will put a good impression on the hiring manager.
Now, a vital step for you to identify the best audit firms around you and prepare a suitable strategy to approach a position in that firm. Most of the times, Big 4 audit firms are desired by aspiring auditors and accounting professionals; these include Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), KPMG, Deloitte & Touche Tohmatsu and Ernst & Young. Big 4 audit firms are top four auditing and consultancy firms in the field of accounting and auditing.
Once you have selected which audit firm to aim for, you need to perform the following steps:
- Prepare your resume: Your resume should be highlighting your passion for the auditing profession. The more you express you’re interested in the field of auditing, the more likely you are to be taken seriously.
- The resume should also highlight advanced auditing skills which you might have learnt during your college or professional studies, including the ability to identify audit risk, business risks, control risk and inherent risks.
- Review job ads at LinkedIn (or other career websites) for different auditing positions and carefully go through job descriptions. Try to gain maximum understand and include some of those keywords in your resume as skills obtained as part of your studies (wherever applicable).
- Approach key management people of your target audit firm in your area through LinkedIn and send them personalized connection requests highlighting your potential and interest to join auditing as a career with their audit firm.
- Make a personal visit (and multiple, if possible) to the audit firm and try to meet with HR or audit partners or audit managers. Try to obtain their career advice on how to join a right audit firm like theirs. The more you engage them, the longer you are likely to remain on their mind. Usually, audit firms hire trainees after specific intervals. Obtain details of the next hiring cycle.
- Once you obtain an interview call for the position of audit associate, it’s your time to prove your best so that you can get into your dream audit firm. You may not have experience of interviews before, but try to stay calm and composed and be honest always. You do not have to try to impress them by faking or by telling lies. They will know it instantly, although they may not express it upfront.
If you get an employment offer from the audit firm, take your time to make your decision. Joining an audit firm is one of the most important decisions of your career and your life as well. You are going to spend all of the daylight time of your life with these guys. You should be comfortable enough to take that decision.