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Showing posts from 2015

Internal audit

Can you give a more robust description of an internal auditor? What he/she primarily works with/for? 

IA essentially is in charge of ensuring that all operations across the company have set processes and controls for each process. They ensure that there is a solid segregation of duties for all these processes. They then are in charge of walking through these processes and testing our internal controls around these processes and ensuring that they are effective.
The auditors expect that IA's walkthroughs and control testing would be enough to rely on a sample of them. They also want IA to know all of our walkthroughs and controls inside-out, because that, in theory, is their job.
In the instances that I've been exposed to, both in audit and in private, it's really not feasible for IA to know these processes inside out. Most IA groups aren't really that big, so from a process perspective,for them to know all the nuts and bolts of a company would be hard (unless the IA grou…

Can't believe I was an auditor

My interactions with our current auditors always helps reinforce in me that my decision to leave was the right decision, but it actually takes it further - it makes me wonder - how the heck did I survive for so many years in audit. When I hear their questions, many of which are purely for PCAOB documentation purposes, I just want to walk away because I'd rather waste my time watching paint dry than answer such non-value added questions. 
I even frequently ask them why they continue to stay in audit. And from what I hear in my old firm, life's still the same. People constantly complaining, the Firms saying that things will change, but it isn't really. And life goes on. Factory model.
Look, auditors add value, don't get me wrong. But there's a lot of non-value add in what they do. I get it, it's not their fault, it's the system and the regulation board. But man - can't believe I used to do that.

Was it worth getting the CPA?

Was it worth getting the CPA? 
If you want to stay in accounting, or even go into finance for that matter (after a stint in accounting), get the CPA. If anything, it's a must-have to be considered for hire in most places. Many companies tell the recruiters that it's a pre-requisite. 
At the same time, I've seen people in private move up the corporate ladder without their CPA - but these are the exceptions, they were really smart and could pick up accounting concepts pretty immediately. So am I glad I have it? Well, I guess because I haven't done a 180 career path wise, yes
So for those of you out there looking to leave public, get your CPA. If you can't, there's still companies willing to overlook based on your experience, but if you do, it's a pre-requisite you've met, meaning there's more opportunities. It's a hot market right now.

Best way to deal with your client

I think your blog has been very helpful to all of us working on Auditing (whether Big4 guys or not), for the prospects on the practice or even for all those interested on understanding how things work in Audit firms and how to work hand in hand with auditors when asking us for additional work when auditing the companies we work for. 
I would really appreciate if you could share with us the insights (or at least some tips) on how to deal with them based on the experience on this new stage on you career.

If I'm reading this right, is the question on how to deal with clients now that I've seen both sides? The best way to do it is to prove to them that you're adding value. This means that when they ask you an accounting question, you make that your top priority and get them the answer. If it means running it up the chain, that's what you'll do.
You'll also want to only ask for the support that's necessary to get you the answer you want. Also, make sure you unders…

How do I view auditors now?

When I was in Public, I always noticed that the toughest ones to deal with where the individuals with Big 4 experience - they thought they knew everything and so decided to tell us how audits should really be done and what we really need to get it done - i.e. a lot of what we were asking was superfluous.

When I first started - I certainly felt more sympathy towards the auditors than the rest of my group, and was very nice to them, helping them along the way. Now, I've switched gears -and I am now the kind of person who tells the auditors what they don't really need and that it's a waste of time. I'm well aware of this switch - and I can't help it. For the most part, auditor questions don't really add value (was aware of this on the other side too) so I don't really care much for it and either ask them to go to someone else or tell them why it's irrelevant. You sometimes expose the auditors too - by challenging them on why they need certain things. If it…

Life on the other side

There were a significant number of positive responses w/ re: to blogging on how it is on the other side after a long stint in Public - so I'm going to try and blog once in a while. I had a lot to talk about during my senior associate years, but it has since dwindled. So I wouldn't expect to be logging in significant blogging time.

The biggest change is that you move from a revenue center to a cost center - and for those that started directly in Public, you don't really notice some of the benefits of being in a revenue center as opposed to a cost center. In Public, we are the revenue-generating assets. Without us, the Firms do not make any money. We effectively ran the Firms (well - the partners and senior leadership did, but they were all accountants and know what it's like). In Private, our only representative in the strategy team is usually the CFO. Even then though - the interests of the Accounting group doesn't play much of a role - we're just in charge of …


So I quit.
After years of anguish, ups and downs, various emotions, I decided to move on. 
As if it wasn't obvious already, I never liked this job. I still made sure I was really good at it though - made sure my teams liked me, the clients liked me and that the audit was a quality audit. I went back and forth on it for years. I even started blogging as a form of therapy years ago so I could vent about some of the absurdities of this job. I struggled because I was debating whether it was worth it to become an Audit Partner - were these short term pains all worth it for the long term gains. So I stayed and kept plugging away, working my way up the ladder. Then, as the industry changed, the work became more and more unbearable. The client service went away, and our work became more fear-based. The auditors were doing audits to present a product to their auditors (the PCAOB). While some saw this going away, I didn't. I tried to visualize myself as a Partner going through this, and I…