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Auditors can be either external or internal to the company. External auditors qualified accountants and are independent. They carry a series of tests they check that the financial accounts of a company are accurate and show a 'true and fair view' of the profit or loss for the year. They also show the financial position at the year end.
Auditors also assess central and local government departments to establish how public money is being spent and to see if any savings can be made. The role involves examining paperwork such as balance sheets and profit and loss accounts to check that they are correct, and discussing transactions with the clients.
Internal auditors work in either the commercial field companies or for public sector organisations. Some are self-employed. Many internal auditors choose to specialise in one area. Overseas opportunities exist within in international companies.
As an external auditor you would work for a firm of chartered or certified accountants, for the National Audit Office, which audits central government departments or the Audit Commission which audits local authorities and other public bodies.
It is necessary to register with a professional accountancy body and study towards a professional qualification to become an accountant. Candidates should be employed in an accountancy, financial management or audit post to gain experience of all areas of work. Many people study whilst working and it typically takes between three to five years depending on the qualifications and experience you have when you begin.
Salaries are between £16,000 and £23,000 a year for graduates going into this role but this does depend on the location and size of firm. Once qualified it is possible to earn between £26,000 and £35,000.
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