What does an Auditor do?
In addition to examining and preparing financial documentation, auditors must explain their findings. This includes face-to-face meetings with organization managers and individual clients and preparing written reports. Auditors typically do the following:
- Examine financial statements to be sure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
- Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
- Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
- Organize and maintain financial records
- Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
- Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits
Many auditors specialize, depending on the particular organization that they work for. Some organizations specialize in assurance services (improving the quality or context of information for decision makers) or risk management (determining the probability of a misstatement on financial documentation). Other auditors specialize in specific industries, such as healthcare. Some workers with a background in accounting and auditing teach in colleges and universities. The four main types of auditors are the following: Public auditors do a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals. They work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public auditors concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns. They review clients' financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported. Some public auditors specialize in forensic accounting or investigating financial crimes, such as securities fraud and embezzlement), bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic auditors combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic auditors work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials. Government auditors maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Auditors employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations. Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization's computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.
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