#BeAnAwesome: Auditor

Dr Keith Sharp, Director of University of London International Programmes at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) talks to coursesmalaysia.com about performing a financial health check.
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Dr Keith Sharp
Director of University, London International Programmes, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

You should study an accounting and finance degree that can develop both your technical knowledge of accounting and audit, as well as other skills valued by employers such as analytical thinking, communication, and self-motivation. If you plan to go on to professional accreditation, make sure you study the appropriate modules for exemptions.

What will I do?

Auditors review the accounts of organisations to check that their financial records are fairly presented and legal. Auditors can also advise on possible risks to the organisation, and make recommendations on how to save money and other improvements. Auditors can work in-house as part of the organisation, but most work in independent chartered and certified firms, which are then appointed to audit a company.

Is it for me?

To get a graduate position, you can have a strong degree in any discipline, but a qualification in accounting and finance is a definite advantage.

Some of the key skills needed for a career in audit include:

  • Numeracy and a strong aptitude for mathematics
  • Interest in the financial system and good commercial awareness
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and critical thinking
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including good presentation and report writing skills
  • Self-motivation and confidence in your abilities
  • Ability to work to deadlines and juggle multiple tasks
  • Attention to detail.

How much will I earn?

Salaries vary but you can expect to earn between RM2,000 and RM3,100 a month for an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree, with managers earning up to about RM10,000 a month.

Who will employ me?

Audit firms range from small local firms to large international firms. The Big Four professional services firms – KPMG, PwC, Ernst & Young (EY) and Deloitte – have a strong track record of employing graduates in Malaysia, Singapore and internationally. You can also work in-house in an organisation as an internal auditor. If the corporate world does not appeal, the Malaysian Government also has a National Audit Department.

Specialisations

There are two main types of auditors: external and internal auditors. External auditors are independent auditors appointed by shareholders to inspect a company, or a public sector organisation such as government departments or universities. Their main role is to express an opinion on whether the management of the company has fairly presented information on the financial statements.

Internal auditors, though generally independent of the activities they audit, are part of the organisation that they audit and report to the organisation’s management team. Typically, internal auditors are employees of the company, though in some cases they may be outsourced. They focus more on identifying risk and looking at how policies and procedures can be improved.