How to Become an Auditor: Pursuing a Key Career in Accounting

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A professionally attired female auditor reviews financial statements.Organizations hire auditors to examine financial records and ensure that a company’s accounting process is free from fraud. Auditors have extensive experience in tax law and financial regulation in addition to a working knowledge of statistics, mathematics, finance and accounting. These professionals play a vital role in ensuring the financial stability and health of an organization.

Individuals seeking a rewarding career in the multidimensional field of accounting may want to consider pursuing an advanced degree in accountancy to help them hone the skills to achieve that goal.

What Does an Auditor Do?

Want to know how to become an auditor? First it is important to understand exactly what an auditor does. Auditors are also responsible for reviewing an organization’s data, accounting entries, balance sheets and tax returns. After reviewing this information, they produce objective reports highlighting any gross mistakes that may be prevalent in the organization.

Auditors work with multiple departments — accounting, finance and the executive team — to procure the necessary data to conduct an objective report. This communication with different departments allows an auditor to understand an organization’s business model. Moreover, auditors can better understand how the accounting and finance departments conduct their work, as well as the various organizational systems each department uses.

An auditor’s report benefits an organization by providing objective information to further strengthen its financial well-being. Auditors suggest potential changes to an organization’s financial reporting procedures and advise on adjustments to internal controls. They may also provide an organization with information regarding potential fraud and the means to rectify it.

There are two different types of auditing: internal and external. Internal auditors access an organization’s financial systems for mitigating risk. They ensure that an organization’s processes and standards are legal and well suited to its overall financial objectives. Moreover, internal auditors serve as advisors to executives in addressing control issues. For example, an organization’s financial reporting may land it in legal trouble. As a result, the organization hires an internal auditor to oversee the rectification of its financial controls. On a daily basis, internal auditors evaluate potential risk that could affect organizational growth.

External auditors analyze accounting records to ensure they meet specific standards outlined by the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). They also ensure that all financial statements are free of misstatements. Like internal auditors, external auditors prepare reports on errors related to financial information.

How to Become an Auditor

Individuals interested in becoming an auditor should consider earning an advanced degree in finance, accounting, business or a related field. While pursuing a master’s degree, individuals can elect to take courses specializing in auditing.

To become a more competitive candidate for an auditor position, professionals can pursue a certified public accountant license. The law requires that anyone filing a financial report be a CPA. To become a CPA, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree, 24 semester units in business and 24 semester units in accounting, as well as pass the four sections of the CPA exam: Auditing and Attestation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Regulation, and Business Environment and Concepts.

A master’s in accountancy program allows aspiring auditors to develop the necessary skills to become effective at their job. These skills include:

Communication: Auditors are responsible for conveying particular processes for financial resolutions, so the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is key. They must be able to negotiate with clients and executives.

Analytical/Critical Thinking: Auditors must be able to objectively analyze and evaluate data and information in an audit. They must also be able to ask the right questions pertaining to a client’s industry.

Organization: Auditors deal with a lot of data and information, which requires them to be highly organized. Many organizations have disorganized financial records, so they need skilled, organized auditors to put them straight.

Salary and Job Outlook for Auditors

Auditors are well paid. In 2019, the median annual salary for accountants in general was $71,550, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Educational background directly influences an auditor’s salary. For example, individuals with a master’s degree may be more likely to attain higher-paying leadership roles. Moreover, auditors with extensive professional experience tend to command higher salaries, as do those who work in larger cities. The BLS projects the number of auditor jobs to increase by 6% between 2018 and 2028.

Discover a Rewarding Career as an Auditor

Aspiring auditors should consider an advanced degree in accountancy. The online Master of Accountancy at the University of North Dakota can provide students with the knowledge, skills and experience for effective auditing. The degree program also offers courses to help professionals prepare for the CPA exam.

The University of North Dakota’s online Master of Accountancy prides itself on the fact that its students consistently perform above the national average on the CPA exam. Furthermore, U.S. News & World Report ranked UND among the top 25 most innovative schools in the country.

Explore the University of North Dakota’s online Master of Accountancy today.

Recommended Readings

Accounting During and After a Pandemic

Laws and Regulations Governing Accounting Professionals

An Overview of Revenue Streams for Accounting Professionals


Forbes, “Five Skills Auditors Need to Succeed Today”

Houston Chronicle, “The Importance of Auditors”

Houston Chronicle, “What Is the Purpose of Internal Auditing?”

Investopedia, “Financial Auditor: Job Details and Average Salary”

Journal of Accountancy, “Rethinking the Audit”

University of North Dakota, Online Master of Accountancy

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors