An audit assistant works under the guidance of a senior professional to review a corporation's internal controls and procedures. He ensures that these procedures are effective, adequate and conform with industry practices, corporate policies, regulatory guidelines and generally accepted auditing standards, or GAAS. An audit assistant is also called an auditor aide or assistant auditor.
Nature of the Work
An auditor aide reviews a firm's financial reporting systems and policies to ensure that accounting reports are accurate, complete and prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. An audit assistant also evaluates corporate operating procedures to ensure that employees abide by laws and regulations, as well as human resources policies, when performing their duties. She also tests software and hardware systems to assess risks of technological malfunction.
Education and Training
An audit assistant usually has a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, auditing or investment analysis. A liberal arts major is not uncommon in the profession, but he typically gets more practical training before performing his duties. A senior audit assistant or an auditor aide working for a large organization usually has a master's degree in auditing or regulatory compliance. Professional certifications, such as certified public accountant (CPA) and certified internal auditor (CIA), are popular among audit assistants.
An audit assistant's remuneration depends on the company's size and industry. Personal factors, such as seniority, length of service, professional credentials and academic degrees, also affect pay levels. According to U.S. Labor Department surveys, auditing clerks earned median wages of $32,510 in 2008, with the top 10 percent of the occupation earning more than $49,260 and the bottom 10 percent earning less than $20,950. The same polls show that senior audit assistants earned average salaries of $59,430 in 2009, excluding annual stock and cash bonuses, with the bottom 10 percent of the profession earning less than $36,720 and the top 10 percent earning more than $102,380.
An audit assistant can improve her chances of career growth by seeking a professional license or higher academic degree. For example, an auditor aide working at a financial institution can seek a certified financial services auditor (CFSA) license. A proficient and effective auditor aide advances to a higher function, such as staff auditor, senior audit assistant or junior audit manager, in a few years.
An audit assistant may travel periodically to review operating procedures and controls at corporate domestic or foreign branches. An auditor aide is usually busy at the end of the year or quarter. He may help the firm file regulatory financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission or Internal Revenue Service. He also may help external auditors perform some tests in internal controls.
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