Auditors help to ensure that firms are run more efficiently, particularly from a financial point of view; that a country's public records are kept accurately; and that taxes are paid properly and on time. An auditor examines and audits the financial statements of an organisation to ensure that the records reflect the true financial state of the business and that the procedures employed are correct.
Qualified auditors can choose between three career paths, namely: in the profession itself, in the civil service or in the academic field. In practice, a large part of the auditor’s task is still the auditing aspect, but today it is more scientific and modern aids, such as computers, that are used.
Other useful services rendered by auditors in practice, because of their specific training, include advising clients concerning tax and estate planning, installing and operating computers, company secretarial support and general management advice.
Computers are rapidly changing the nature of the work for most auditors. With the aid of special software packages, auditors summarise transactions in standard formats for financial records and organise data in special formats for financial analysis. These greatly reduce the amount of tedious manual work associated with data and record-keeping.
Personal and laptop computers enable auditors to be more mobile and to use their clients’ computer systems to extract information from large mainframe computers. As a result of these trends, a growing number of auditors have extensive computer skills and specialise in correcting problems with software or in developing software to meet unique data needs.
To cope with audits on sophisticated computers, data bases, networks and electronic fund transfer, auditors require a dedicated and continuous effort to keep abreast of new developments.
Fields of Specialisation include:
Auditing: An auditor investigates the financial records of a company and then gives a report.
Legal matters: Mercantile law and company law give the auditor the opportunity to handle the legal aspects of contracts, such as with letting and hire purchase.
Computer Science: This field especially comprises the development and implementing of programs for electronic information processing, the planning of financial models and the giving of advice regarding hard- and software purchases.
Planning & Management: Planning is an important management function. Planning macro- and micro-level, long- and short-term forecasts, feasibility studies and the financial planning of new projects must be carried out continuously. Management also includes administration, secretarial, financial and various other facets of business management.
Auditors usually work in comfortable office environments. When self-employed, they could work from home and would only need to travel to clients’ business premises and offices.
Schooling & School Subjects
Each institution has its own entry requirements.
The various universities differ with regard to their selection requirements. Prospective students must find out about selection dates and entrance requirements in good time, because some universities select according to the Grade 11 marks.
Degree: BCom (Acc), plus Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy (CTA) - Monash, RU, UP, UNISA, UKZN, UFH, UJ, NMMU, NWU, US, UCT, UWC, UZ, Wits
Diploma: CUT, CPUT, DUT, TUT, VUT
Only a degree course will lead to qualification as an auditor. The training is divided into academic and practical phases. Academic training comprises four to five years’ full-time study. During this time the following qualifications can be obtained: BCom (Acc) 3 years; BCom (Hons)(Acc) and CTA (Certificate Theory of Accounting) 1 - 2 years. During the following year, the qualifying examination of the Public Accountants and Auditors board can be written. Practical training takes three years after obtaining a degree.
Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors
P O Box 751595
Garden View, 2047
Building 2, Greenstone Hill Office Park
Tel: (087) 940-8800 Fax: (087) 940-8873
The Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa
P O Box 2290
Unit 2, Bedfordview Office Park
Tel: (011) 450-1040 Fax: (011) 450-1070