This article on Accountants Vs Auditors is written specifically with young people who are at the point of making a choice in the world of noble accountancy profession in mind.
Just a little background checks to make sure that I am qualified to write an article in this field as some serious career decisions might be made off the contents of this post.
I am a Certified Chartered Accountant, a Certified Information Systems auditor, a Fraud examiner and an Internal Auditor who has worked across various accounting and finance roles in many industries. Of late, I started dabbling into computer programming as an accountant specializing in data analytics and android development. I have helped set up an accounting department from scratch to becoming full fledged department.
If you haven’t close the tab of this article for other things, then it simply means that I have got your attention and can now proceed to unbiasedly compare accounting and auditing career paths.
Similarities between accountants and auditors
A major and probably the most obvious similarities between an accountant and an auditor is that they belong to the same profession – accountancy. Both professionals are free to choose which professional accountancy body to belong to.
What really matter is that, the individual is qualified as an accountant in order to be able to practice either as an accountant or an auditor. So, first thing when faced to choose between being an auditor or an accountant is to gain some accounting training – you may go for something as basic as BSc in accounting or go for high end PhD in accounting, the choice is yours.
Differences between accountants and auditors
There is no much difference between an accountant and an auditor. Just that the accountant keeps the record while the auditors checks to make sure that rules are followed.
Qualifications for becoming an accountant
If you are aspiring to be a bookkeeper or an accounts clerk, then you can settle for just the basic educational qualifications. Even bookkeepers have professional association that one can join to stand out from the crowd.
To be an accountant in its true sense, your only option is to take the bull by the horn, write those accountancy professional examinations and qualify. A simple Google search will tell you what accounting professional qualifications are valid in your area of jurisdiction but the following are somewhat universal; ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW, or ACA of your country.
Qualifications for becoming an auditor
To become a traditional regular auditor, you need the qualifications mentioned above for accountants. However, if you want to specialize, you may take any of the following professional niche qualifications; CISA, CFE, CIA or CFF – CFF stands for Certified in Financial Forensics and is less common.
Roles of auditors
The role of auditors will be viewed from two different angles. One from the perspective of external auditor and the other from the perspective of the internal auditor.
Internal auditors’ roles
The primary aim of internal auditors is to ensure that rules made to ensure that an organization achieves its long term objectives are met. Below are some of the other high level roles of internal auditors;
- Risk assessment
- Establishing internal controls
- Improving controls
- Safeguarding company’s assets
- Ensuring compliance
- Giving assurance
- Investigating anomalies when detected – I know a lot of people will argue with but, yeah.
- Educating the entire workforce
I have written an earlier piece on the importance of internal audit department so I encourage you to have a look at that article for more insights on the roles of internal auditors. And don’t forget to master the fundamentals of audit engagement planning.
External auditors’ roles
Most external audits are required by law so the primary aim of external audit is to meet with legal requirements. Other roles of external auditors are listed below;
- Validation of assertions made by managers
- Give credibility to contents of financial statements
Roles of accountants
The roles of accountants have of late become very diverse that talking about them here will mean that this article that compares accountants and auditors will be very lengthy so I will refer you to the following previous post on this accounting blog. Note that all accountants long term goal is to attain a lofty height of performing the functions of CFO.
- Role of accountants in fraud fighting
- Roles of accountants in economic development
- Functions of accounting and finance department
- Importance of accounting
- Role of accountants in bankruptcy and insolvency
- Functions and duties of forensic accountants
- Accountants role in small businesses
- Role of accountants in customer care
I am almost certain that going through the above linked articles will provide answers to most of the questions you may have regarding the roles and functions of accountants in modern day business environment.
I know you will be wondering why I have referred you to many of my previous articles but, yeah, why would I be rewriting what I have written before? Haven said that, let me refer you to this article on career path that accountants can take.
Career paths for auditors
Hey, I will not refer you to any previous article this time around. In this section of the article, I will be briefly mentioning some career paths that you can take as an aspiring auditor.
- Internal auditor
- External auditor
- Fraud examination
- Internal control consultant
- Process improvement expert
- Information technology auditor
- Information systems auditor
Future of auditing and accounting
A lot has been said about the future of accounting, auditing and finance and it is no longer news that the future of accountancy profession is bright enough for those who strategically position themselves to take advantage of what the future of accounting has to offer. Being a disruptive accountant is the surest way of safeguarding your future as an accountant or an auditor. To be a disruptive accountant, one need to amongst other things have soft skills for accountants and possess critical skills for accountants.
The decision is yours
Now that you have made it this far into this accountants vs auditors article, it is now up to you alone to decide on which career path best suits your strengths and personality. Remember that you can always switch at any point in time.
I have switched between accounting and auditing countless time. The most important this is that you pick up useful skills as you progress along. Have a wonderful accounting career ahead of you.