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is this job really for you?


"I am interning now, in audit. I have never been so bored in my life. I am getting plenty of work, but the work seems so meaningless and unfullfilling. Tic, Tie, copy/paste in excel, check this, check that. It is all so boring and lacking substance. I realize that as an staff auditor, this is what you do, but is the essence of auditing really just that? Wondering if Advisory tax or risk management would be more to my liking.."

I hear ya loud and clear. I did feel like that too during my associate years at the firm. Here's the thing; as an intern/associate..you are going to be the bitch. All the tick and tie stuff, looking at invoices, footing numbers, making sure numbers in one doc are in an another, that's part of the job, sadly, an important aspect of the job. Is it meaningless? Our adjustments, usually in the scheme of things, are pretty meaningless. But our very existence is like a check on the companies, because they do not want to get caught committing fraud. Without auditors, all the investors can do is trust the companies. And in this "greed is good" Gordon Gekko world, we really can't trust companies to state their financials fairly. So, in a nutshell, the economy needs auditors.

Is it unfulfilling? Well, we've got to look at this individually. It will never be fulfilling to you until you hit at least your senior year. When you reach a point where your client comes to you asking for help accounting for something, that's fulfilling. When you mentor staff associates and teach them how to account for certain issues, that's fulfilling. When you help companies create their financials and footnotes, that's fulfilling. When you manage entire teams successfully and wrap up audits, that's fulfilling. When you oversee the audits of private companies from start to finish, and hold the issued set of financials in your hands, with your firm's unqualified opinion, that's fulfilling.
Risk management is definitely something that's closer to a consulting role, so that's definitely something to consider. You just have to realize that your options after doing risk management are much more limited than when you spend 5+ years in the audit field. Because when those offers come pouring in after years of hell, I'll tell you one thing..other companies definitely don't think what you've gone through or learned during your years at the firms are meaningless.

Comments

Nathan said…
Thanks for this insight.
Jaime said…
Just wanted to leave a general comment. I came across your blog last week during lunch and found myself reminicing on training days, where after training was over, you weren't expected to log back on and do more work. I am a staff 1 at a big 4, so all of those things were fresh in my mind. Its my first busy season and its been a little hectic, so reading your blog helps me relate. Keep up the humor... I look forward to reading your blog.
Josh said…
That is the straightest answer that I have received from anyone regarding this. Thanks a lot. It is difficult to see the bigger picture sometimes.
Anonymous said…
Auditing is not hard, it's just tedious. All you need is some ocmmon sense. If you can peel a banana, then you will do fine in audit.
CA Karan Batra said…
Auditing is nothing more than clerical work... Checking calculations, rectifying errors...
although we Accountants require a very tough degree to do audit, Audit is not at all intresting... and u've been able to hit the nail on its head
Anonymous said…
i am an associate and i have the same feelings. i dread going to work and feel like quitting every day
Anonymous said…
This job is not for me. As soon as I am able to quit without paying back bonuses, I will. The hours are long and it's impossible to be passionate about this work.

And after you become a manager and leave to become a controller, you get to fetch all the documentation for the auditors. Doesn't that sound exciting?
Edmund K. said…
Wow, usually you just debase the accounting profession but today, you just(subliminally) advocated me to major in accounting when i go to college.

Thanks
Evan said…
Don't expect fulfillment or work-life balance at a Big 4 firm. Get your CPA, some experience, and find a better paying job.
Anonymous said…
Well if you hold strong the view, that with all the training and experience from tying numbers, tracing to documents and preparing well reconciled numbers in the financial statements, is going to lead to a fulfilling career 6 years down the road in terms of managing the team, projects and consulting clients on accounting.............you are sadly mistaken.

Its a vicious nightmare. Soon enough the only exciting thing that remains is that drink on Thursday night cause you know Friday is here......
Anonymous said…
Wow! Your blog is what i wanted to dispel any confusion I had. I recently joined 1 of the Big $ audit firms. You have answered all the questions in my mind. This blog is a godsend. Cheers

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