An auditor is a professional who is responsible for evaluating some aspect of a project, business, or individual. He or she is often employed in the task of determining the level of efficiency present in the production process of a business, the efficient use of labor and other resources associated with the business, and the veracity of the financial records of the business. Along with evaluating a project or aspect of a company, this person is often expected to make recommendations regarding the correction of negative conditions that currently impact the organization.
Essentially, this person may function as an employee or an independent professional. When working for an organization, he or she is usually referred to as an internal auditor. He or she often conducts periodic audits that may encompass several areas on a rotating basis. As an example, he or she may focus on the manufacturing process during one quarter of the year, while devoting a second quarter to evaluating the financial record keeping of the company. Often, the employee will set up a schedule to ensure that audits are conducted on each critical portion of the company at least once per calendar year.
Auditing professionals who do not work for a specific company are referred to as external auditors. Sometimes, working as freelance professionals and at other times associated with accounting or financial planning firms, an independent auditor is called in to conduct an audit on a specific aspect of the corporation. The idea behind using an independent professional is that the audit will be free of bias and not influenced by office politics or internal relationships that exist among the employees of the company.
Many companies make use of internal auditors to make sure that various functions within the company are operating according to established internal standards, as well as complying with any applicable federal and state laws. External ones are often called in as support to what has already been documented by internal audits or in situations where there is some suspicion of a breach of ethics within the organization. The exact process of the audit may vary, depending on what aspect of the company is being audited, and what internal and external regulations are involved.