An auditor is a professional that is responsible for examining the financial statements and internal controls of an organization. These professionals follow standards set by different professional bodies to help them in the performance of their work. Auditors can be internal or external to a business. While there is a difference between internal and external auditors, they both need to maintain certain standards expected of them.
There are a few qualities that make auditors good. These standards are as below.
Auditors need to be competent in the tasks they perform. Competence means having the required knowledge and experience that is necessary to perform a task. Auditors need to have relevant knowledge regarding aspects of the auditing process such as financial reporting standards or taxation laws. However, knowledge alone does not suffice. Auditors must also have relevant experience in the field of audit and the industry of the client business, to properly apply the knowledge in practice.
One of the other key skills that auditors must possess to be successful is communication. During their job, auditors need to communicate with different parties. For example, auditors need to communicate with the management of the client business to obtain information or evidence that is relevant to the audit engagement. Furthermore, auditors also need to communicate internally, for example, with managers and partners. If an auditor does not have communication skills, they cannot obtain information from the client or communicate it reliably to others.
Different accounting and auditing bodies have recently highlighted the importance of professional scepticism for auditors. Due to the nature of audits, auditors need to obtain evidence from various sources. Sometimes, these sources may not provide the auditor with objective data. Therefore, the concept of professional scepticism suggests that auditors should always have a questioning mind and be alert to any conditions that may indicate possible misstatements due to various reasons.
Apart from being objectivity, auditors also need to have integrity. Like objectivity, integrity is also a part of the IFAC Code of Ethics for auditors. While objectivity and integrity may sound similar, they are not. Integrity relates to being straightforward and honest in all relationships, whether business or personal. For example, if an auditor changes their opinion on a report, in exchange for some form of compensation from the client’s management, then their integrity is disputed.