Audit Associate Job Description (With Duties and Skills)
Updated 4 June 2023
Audit associates are an important part of the accounting and audit team. They have a key function in assessing and ensuring the accuracy of financial records. Understanding what this role involves can help you decide if this is the right career choice for you. In this article, we guide you through the audit associate job description by explaining their responsibilities, requirements and skills in detail.
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Audit associate job description
An audit associate job description includes the duties and responsibilities associated with providing audit, assessment and consulting services to a company. As an audit associate, you're responsible for reviewing financial records and making sure they comply with applicable laws and regulations, including the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). These are the standards used to report financial information.
You can expect to work full-time in an office environment that adheres to strict ethical and professional standards. Overall, you can expect the work to be fast-paced and collaborative with significant opportunities for career growth and development. The job can vary slightly depending on the company. For example, an audit associate at a public accounting firm may work on audits for a variety of clients, including large corporations and government agencies. Meanwhile, if they work at a financial services company, they may focus on auditing internal processes and controls to ensure compliance with industry regulations.
Audit associate responsibilities
This is a detailed list of an audit associate's duties and responsibilities:
Perform financial audits
In general, the process of performing financial audits is an essential mechanism for detecting any potential errors, anomalies or instances of fraud in the financial statements. Therefore, audit associates are responsible for completing this with the utmost professionalism and care. The process of performing financial audits involves a series of procedures that you can follow to assess the accuracy, completeness and validity of an organisation's financial statements. These procedures can include:
Audit planning: This step involves meeting with the client to tailor your financial audit scope regarding the objective, the nature of the client's business, financial reporting issues and their management philosophy.
Risk assessment: In this step, you can identify the areas of the financial statements that may have the highest risk of material misstatement, determine the significance of such risks and establish critical audit objectives.
Internal control evaluation: This involves evaluating the client's internal control systems for design effectiveness, testing them for operational effectiveness and then determining control risk elements.
Substantive testing: Here, you gather substantive evidence to determine if material misstatements are present in the financial statements, such as by testing the details of transactions and account balances, analysing trends and patterns of financial data or tracing transactions throughout system interfaces and operations.
Audit documentation: To ensure that you met the established audit objectives, you can document the results of the financial audit in audit files and checklists, including supporting documents to testify to the evidence gathered.
Collaborate with the financial team
This duty can include both the finance employees within the company you work for and also the client's own personnel that are responsible for financial reporting. As an audit associate, one of your primary duties is to collaborate with the appropriate financial team to make sure that the entire process runs smoothly, accurately and with maximum efficiency.
For example, you can work closely with your own audit team, management and other relevant departments within the company to ensure that you successfully deliver your audit services. Also, you can liaise with the client's finance team to gather the essential financial information and documentation you need for the audit groundwork. Lastly, you can participate in status meetings with both your own audit team and the client's finance team to give updates, answer questions and provide clarification.
Build positive relationships with clients
This responsibility involves building and maintaining healthy working relationships with your clients, anticipating their needs, responding promptly to their enquiries and communicating effectively. Building good relationships helps foster an atmosphere of trust with the client, ensuring that your auditing processes are successful. Good customer relations can also reflect positively on your reputation as an audit associate, thereby helping our career prospects in the long term.
Provide risk management advice
Providing risk management advisory services to clients can also entail developing best practices and improving their internal controls. These internal control schemes serve to mitigate potential risks that can negatively affect the client. For example, you may advise a client on how best to implement appropriate internal controls or review their financial reporting process for accuracy and completeness. By evaluating potential risks, you can suggest corrective measures that help minimise the chances of future losses. Examples of risks include:
Financial: Unreliable or incomplete financial information can lead to inaccurate evaluations of business performance.
Operational: Inadequate staffing, processes or systems can hinder daily operations.
Compliance: This includes potential violations of laws, regulations or industry standards due to inadequate policies and procedures.
Legal: Potential legal issues might happen due to a lack of contracts or insufficient dispute resolution mechanisms in place.
Fraud: The possibility of fraud can result from ineffective internal control procedures or collusion between employees and external parties.
Audit associate requirements
This is a brief outline of the different job requirements you can expect employers to ask for:
For this position, employers usually ask for a minimum of a higher national diploma or relevant bachelor's degree. Consider studying a field related to accounting, finance, business administration or law. A master's degree may also be helpful but it's not typically obligatory.
The position of audit associate is an entry-level one, meaning little to no work experience is necessary. Usually, employers only ask for one or two years of experience. As it's an entry-level role, this means there's space for growth and advancement within the company. Once you gain experience, you can progress to senior positions such as audit manager or transition to other areas of accounting such as tax or advisory services.
Nevertheless, it's beneficial to have relevant work experience before applying for this job since it can demonstrate your interest in the area and your commitment to learning. To gain experience, you might want to consider finding an internship, part-time job or volunteer opportunity. These options all provide valuable insights that are great for your resume.
To join this career, there are several certification requirements to fulfil before becoming an audit associate. Consider gaining a certification from the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA) Singapore, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or Chartered Financial Analysts Institute (CFAI). Also, take the ICA's examination in business and law to show employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the field of auditing.
Once you have the necessary certifications, you can then take the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) every year. This ensures that you stay up to date with the latest developments in the industry. Depending on the company, the employer may also ask for these:
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Audit associate skills
To increase your chances of successfully becoming an audit associate, you can develop these in-demand skills:
Having a strong grasp of accounting knowledge ensures that you can effectively analyse financial data, identify potential issues and communicate your findings to clients and other relevant parties. You can use this skill for:
understanding financial statement preparation and analysis, including the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement
having proficiency in recognising and recording journal entries, ledger accounts and account reconciliation
understanding the relevant regulatory frameworks such as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (SFRS)
having awareness of the tax laws and regulations, including their impact on financial statements
Attention to detail
This skill involves paying close attention to every aspect of an audit and checking for any errors, discrepancies or inconsistencies in financial statements. Attention to detail also means that you account for all relevant information and that you swiftly address any flagged errors. Examples of how this skill might apply in an audit associate role include:
checking digits and ensuring accuracy in numbers and calculations
carefully inspecting financial statements for any discrepancies or omissions
paying attention to the smallest details, such as punctuation and formatting in report writing
seeking clarification or additional information when something seems wrong
Having solid analytical skills enables you to enhance your problem-solving capabilities and to identify areas where further investigation may be necessary through the course of your work. It can also help you better understand your client's financial data and effectively communicate your findings. You can use this skill in your role by:
identifying trends and patterns in financial data
using analytical tools to identify and address potential fraud or other irregularities
analysing financial statements to ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulatory requirements
assessing risk factors and recommending controls to mitigate the potential for future issues
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