What Does an Audit Associate Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

An audit associate assists with auditing and compliance activities. Some may work internally within a company while others are employed by outside auditors who review firms to make sure they are following accounting standards. A four year degree in business or accounting is usually required. A master’s degree can be helpful, as can a formal certification in accounting or tax law. Additional training and certifications may qualify people for more wages and benefits as well as higher-ranking positions.

An audit associate assists with auditing and compliance activities.
An audit associate assists with auditing and compliance activities.

Whether an audit associate works on internal auditing teams or for an external company, the job includes collecting documentation related to an audit as well as researching. A variety of sources can be used to pull together information about a company and its practices. These can help auditors determine specific areas of concern they may want to examine during the review of the company’s financial records. Scheduling can also be part of the job, including creating a timeline for an audit and working with individual personnel to determine their schedules for maximum efficiency.

A thorough knowledge of generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP) and industry standards is important for an audit associate. These personnel need to understand how financial records should be kept and what to look for in a review of a company’s documentation. They can run tests to determine if the company is keeping accurate and appropriate information. Testing can include mathematical formulas, comparison against other documents, and review in light of the research conducted to support the audit.

Communication with the rest of the team can also be the responsibility for an audit associate. Auditors need to coordinate their work to provide complete coverage without influencing each other, so they can deliver fair and unbiased opinions. This may involve double checking work to see if two auditors get the same result. The audit associate may distribute manuals and make sure that everyone is familiar with the company’s standards so they can use them during the review process. Periodic meetings may allow members of the team to exchange information and ideas to support the audit.

Another job responsibility can be document preparation. While the audit associate may not write the final auditing opinion, the process needs to be carefully documented. Associates can offer opinions and information on different aspects of the audit that may be used in the final report. They also assist supervisors with the collection of information and supporting materials to use in concluding statements.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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