When people learn that you work in public accounting they often ask – “is being an auditor boring?”. This posts answers the question, and the answer is likely to be surprising for some people.
Having worked in audit for almost 4 years, from an audit junior to a fully qualified audit senior, I’m going to sit on the fence slightly with my answer of… it depends. Keep reading for the reasons why this is the case…
Is being an auditor boring?
From a day-to-day work perspective, especially in the early years, I would have to agree that yes, audit is boring.
However, that said, working as part of an audit team is much more than the day to day work.
Depending on the size of an engagement, the audit team is usually made up of 4-30 team members, ranging from audit juniors all the way up to partners. Given the age demographics within the Big 4, this means that there is usually a good level of energy in the teams, and depending on the specific team members, an audit can actually be quite fun (yes really).
The work that a team member does various hugely depending on their level of experience and ability. A junior is obviously going to be given the more simple work, such as bank reconciliations, verifying invoices and inspecting fixed assets – all of which can be described as being boring tasks. We all have to start somewhere though, right?
It is the audit seniors and managers that get involved in the most complex and more interesting areas which should be expected given their added experience and knowledge. The juniors should recognise that this more interesting work is what they will be doing in the future.
Although I’ve stated that audit is generally more boring for the juniors on the team, they are working with several other more experienced and clever people, so it genuinely is a great place to learn. There is no coincidence that most FDs/CFOs that we come across are ex-auditors.
Making an audit fun
From experience, my attitude towards audit was largely dependent on the specific jobs that I worked on, and importantly the people/managers that I worked with. If you are working with colleagues and managers that you get along with and learn from, an audit can be a positive and enjoyable experience.
Though team structure may be out of a junior’s control, there are ways of identifying those jobs that they want to work on, and asking the relevant managers to ensure they are staffed (which I would definitely recommend).
Similarly, working on areas of the audit which are challenge your technical ability is a key factor in the level of boredom experienced. Take a proactive approach to assigned work and it may be that audit work becomes interesting.
To conclude… is being an auditor boring?
In summary, clearly junior audit work is going to be more boring than that of senior audit work, and senior work is more boring than manager work, and so on. Typically the more senior you are, the more complex and interesting the work becomes.
However, an audit is so much more than simply completing work papers, and providing an effort is made to be staffed on the ‘better’ jobs and to work on the more technically challenging areas, audit doesn’t have to be boring, and can actually be great job to have – especially if you are working with the right people.