Auditors help to ensure that firms are run more efficiently, particularly from a financial point of view; that a country's public records are kept accurately; and that taxes are paid properly and on time.
An auditor examines and audits the financial statements of an organisation to ensure that the records reflect the true financial state of the business and that the procedures employed are correct. Qualified auditors can choose between three career paths, namely: in the profession itself, in the civil service or in the academic field. In practice, a large part of the auditor's task is still the auditing aspect, but today it is more scientific and modern aids, such as computers, that are used.
Other useful services rendered by auditors in practice, because of their specific training, include advising clients concerning tax and estate planning, installing and operating computers, company secretarial support and general management advice.
Computers are rapidly changing the nature of the work for most auditors. With the aid of special software packages, auditors summarize transactions in standard formats for financial records and organize data in special formats for financial analysis. These packages greatly reduce the amount of tedious manual work associated with data and record-keeping. Personal and laptop computers enable auditors to be more mobile and to use their clients' computer systems to extract information from large mainframe computers. As a result of these trends, a growing number of auditors have extensive computer skills and specialize in correcting problems with software or in developing software to meet unique data needs.
Fields of Specialization include:
Auditing: An auditor investigates the financial records of a company and then gives a report.
Legal matters: Mercantile law and company law give the auditor the opportunity to handle the legal aspects of contracts, such as with letting and hire purchase.
Computer Science: This field especially comprises the development and implementing of programs for electronic information processing, the planning of financial models and the giving of advice regarding hard- and software purchases.
Planning & Management: Planning is an important management function. Planning macro- and micro-level, long- and short-term forecasts, feasibility studies and the financial planning of new projects must be carried out continuously. Management also includes administration, secretarial, financial and various other facets of business management.
Auditors use the following types of equipment and materials: computers, telephones, fax machines, financial reports, accounts, stationery, e-mail and the Internet. They usually work in comfortable office environments. When self-employed, they could work from home and would only need to travel to clients' business premises and offices.
- the ability to gain an understanding of an organization in a relatively short period
- the non-routine nature of the job
- travel opportunities
- meeting different people
- exposure to senior personnel
- some creativity
- a lot of travelling
- adverse reaction to auditors from line managers and staff
- not being allowed to make line decisions
- always having to consult or advise
A internal auditor should:
- have integrity and respect confidentiality;
- be objective and empathetic;
- have tact and good communication skills;
- have patience and perseverance;
- be thorough and disciplined;
- be practical and have a large amount of common sense;
- be creative in solving difficult problems;
- be able to accept any challenge within the scope of internal auditing;
- have the ability to learn, digest and implement
- have good communication skills and sound judgement
- show initiative when difficult problems are encountered
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Accounting, Economics
The various universities differ with regard to their selection requirements. Prospective students must find out about selection dates and entrance requirements in good time, because some universities select according to the Grade 11 marks.
Degree: BCom (Acc.), plus Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy (CTA.) - Monash, RU, UP, UNISA, UKZN, UFS, UKZN, UL, Monash, UFH, UJ, NMMU, NWU, US, UCT, UWC, UZ, Wits
Diploma: CUT, CPUT, DUT, MUT, TUT, VUT
Only a degree course will lead to qualification as an auditor. The training is divided into academic and practical phases. Academic training comprises four to five years' full-time study. During this time the following qualifications can be obtained: BCom (Acc) 3 years; BCom (Hons)(Acc) and CTA (Certificate Theory of Accounting) 1 - 2 years. During the following year, the qualifying examination of the Public Accountants and Auditors board can be written. Practical training takes three years after obtaining a degree.
Employment opportunities for auditors are excellent. The demand for their skills usually exceeds the availability of qualified people in the job market, so the financial rewards are generally substantially more attractive than in most other careers.
The nature of their training enables auditors to hold prestigious positions, for example as managers, accountants, internal auditors or even financial executives of local and international undertakings. Auditors can also work for commercial undertakings, industries, municipalities, banks, mines, insurance companies and so forth.
Employment options include:
- in commerce and all kinds of industries
- universities and colleges as lecturers
- public sector (government, local government, statutory bodies)
Auditors can also start their own private practice firms. Because accountants and auditors also have a lot of business knowledge, many of them start their own businesses.
Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors
P O Box 751595
Garden View, 2047
Greenstone Hill Office Park
Tel: (087) 940-8800 Fax: (087) 940-8873
The Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa
P O Box 2290
Unit 2, Bedfordview Office Park
Tel: (011) 450-1040 Fax: (011) 450-1070
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