What is an Auditor?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

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.

An auditor going over business receipts.
An auditor going over business receipts.

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.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@panda2006, just try teaching abroad. I teach at a school in Eastern Europe, and we have to take attendance in a "class book" at the start of every class period, as well as write down what we teach every single day, and it has to match up to a year plan at the end. While most of these books are put into a vault and never again see the light of day, they are kept, just "in case" of the odd chance the school is audited by the government and needs to check all of its records to probe things are being done properly.


When I worked at summer camps and other childcare programs that received even a nominal amount of monetary help from the government, auditors became a very important concern. I worked at one education program for high school students that was run through the TRiO program, and there was extensive record keeping for every student; every class had sign in sheets, as well as every field trip or other activity; in some cases, even the food children were given had a set of nutrition requirements in order to receive government money to support it.

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