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Audit Manager Interview
Questions

23 Questions and Answers by
| Brian Schuchart is a CPA with fourteen years of experience, including nine years in financial strategy roles. He has held the roles of auditor, staff accountant, manager of financial planning and analysis and senior finance partner.

Question 1 of 23

What areas of public accounting or industries are you most interested in?

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Audit Manager Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What areas of public accounting or industries are you most interested in?

      In large firms, there may be different divisions that focus on various areas of public accounting (auditing, taxation, etc). If the job description identifies which areas the role is focused, make sure you mention those areas in your answer.

      Brian's Answer

      "I was excited to come across this role, because I am very interested in corporate taxation. I am also interested in technology, and I know this firm specializes in the technology industry. I have a strong desire to learn more about other areas of public accounting and different industries, so employment in a large firm such as XYZ Public Accountants is very appealing to me."

  2. 2.

    How do you manage your manager? In other words, what steps do you take to make sure you get what you need from your boss and make both your lives easier?

      Also known as 'managing up', 'managing your manager' is a soft skill that can be developed over time. It essentially means doing whatever is necessary to make your manager's job easier. Some clear-cut benefits of managing up include increased productivity and better working relationships between boss and employee.

      Brian's Answer

      "I am a firm believer in the benefits of managing my manager. At the end of the day, I want to make the internal audit engagements we work on together run as smoothly as possible. One area I really focus on is communicating and prioritizing workload on a regular basis. This ensures that I'm always working on the highest-priority items. Another thing that is crucial is understanding my manager's style. For example, maybe they prefer regular check-ins by email throughout the day or scheduled catch-up meetings, etc. Then, I tailor my communication to their style."

  3. 3.

    How do you feel past experience has prepared you for the Audit Manager role?

      Be sure to highlight the different areas you were exposed to as a Staff/Senior Auditor. To not sound like a 'know it all', make sure to acknowledge that even in a manager role, there is still plenty to learn once you have been hired.

      Brian's Answer

      "I have been in a Senior Auditor role for the last two years, and I have been fortunate to have been exposed to a variety of different roles and responsibilities. Since I work at a boutique accounting firm, I was able to be involved in all aspects of the audit, including planning, internal controls assessments, tax returns, and analytical procedures to name a few. Additionally, even though my role was not technically manager level, I still took pride in taking younger staff under my wing. I believe that this experience sets me up nicely for the next step in my career. Of course, I also realize there is much more to learn as I grow."

  4. 4.

    What qualities or skills do you believe a good auditor should possess?

      This question is a good opportunity to show you have an understanding of what qualities make a good auditor. Some key areas to hit are ethics (honesty/integrity), an ability to interact with colleagues and clients (communication skills, people person), an ability to limit mistakes (focused/attention to detail), and an ability to get to the correct answer (skeptical/inquisitive/problem solver).

      Brian's Answer

      "First and foremost, I believe an auditor should be honest and have great integrity. Without this, it would be impossible for the person to perform the role effectively. Next, the auditor should have the education and technical skills to perform the job. They should have exceptional people skills as they will be required to communicate effectively with colleagues, clients and other parties. They should have an inquisitive mind and a keen attention to detail. Finally, an auditor in a management position should have excellent communication skills."

  5. 5.

    Explain how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act changed the auditing profession.

      The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is major legislation passed in 2002 that substantially changed the accounting and auditing professions. It was enacted in response to major fraud scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. The interviewee should know the Act in detail, as it is a key driver of the profession, but a summary here will suffice.

      Brian's Answer

      "The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed into legislation in 2002 in response to fraud scandals like Enron. The goal of SOX was to protect investors and employees from fraudulent reporting. As a result, there is a greater onus on auditors to provide assurance that financial statements are free of material misstatement. For example, auditors are now required to test a company's internal controls and report on their effectiveness. Additionally, there are stricter requirements for financial statement disclosures."

  6. 6.

    How would you handle working in an increasingly remote environment?

      This is a question to gauge if you are disciplined enough to work from home. Be sure to touch on how you would stay focused and communicate with team members. Even after things return to normal, remote work may continue to be more common across many industries, including auditing. Being able to effectively manage your projects with little supervision sets you up to be promoted to management roles in the future.

      Brian's Answer

      "I have experience working remotely. In my previous role as senior auditor, we were able to work from home on Fridays in the summer. I enjoyed working from home, and was able to stay on task and communicate effectively with my team members. There were some ground rules I implemented, such as maintaining regular hours, keeping my morning routine as if I was going to the office, and scheduling breaks to take care of non-work related tasks. I also had a standing meeting with my manager and team members every morning to discuss priorities for the day. Working remotely would not impact my productivity or the timeliness in which I correspond with colleagues."

  7. 7.

    What are analytical procedures and what are some examples?

      Analytical procedures are techniques and methods that auditors use to obtain audit evidence, which allows them to express an audit opinion. The five main types of analytical procedures are analytical review, inquiry, observation, inspection, and recalculation.

      Brian's Answer

      "Analytical procedures are the techniques and procedures we use as evidence to express our audit opinion on the client's financial statements. Some common procedures include analytical review, inquiry, observation, inspection, and recalculation."

  8. 8.

    In your opinion, why is it important for organizations to have effective internal controls?

      Internal controls are rules, regulations, and safeguards that an organization puts in place to ensure integrity of financial information and to prevent fraud. There are several benefits to having robust and effective internal controls, including preventing fraud/theft, improving accuracy of financial reporting, and complying with laws and regulations.

      Brian's Answer

      "Internal controls are vital for organizations of all sizes. First and foremost, internal controls are necessary to be in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, strong internal controls are necessary to prevent fraud and theft by employees. Finally, strong and effective internal controls result in improved timeliness and accuracy of financial reporting, which makes for smoother audits."

  9. 9.

    What is the auditor’s responsibility when planning an audit?

      Auditing standard AU-C Section 300 Planning an Audit covers what the auditor's responsibility is during the planning phase of the audit. The engagement partner and other key members of the audit team should be involved. As a staff auditor, you will be heavily involved in the planning process, so it's important to brush up on the requirements detailed in the standard.

      Brian's Answer

      "During the planning phase of an audit, the engagement partner and other key engagement team members should establish an understanding of the terms of the engagement, assess the continuance of the client relationship, and develop an overall audit strategy that sets the scope, timing, and direction of the audit."

  10. 10.

    In an audit, who is primarily responsible for the prevention and detection of fraud?

      According to auditing pronouncement AU-C Section 240, a company's management is primarily responsible for detecting fraud and preventing it in the first place, by having effective internal controls. An auditor must conduct an audit in accordance with GAAS (generally accepted auditing standards). However, given the limitations of an audit, there is an inherent risk that not all material misstatements will be detected.

      Brian's Answer

      "Ultimately, it is a company's management that is responsible for preventing and detecting fraud within their organization. They can achieve this by implementing effective internal controls and committing to a culture of honest and ethical behavior. As auditors, there is a chance we would catch fraud and misstatements during our audit. However, there is an inherent risk that an audit won't catch all material misstatements and fraud."

  11. 11.

    How do you mitigate and manage stress?

      The life of an auditor can be stressful with a lot of travel and deadlines. The interviewer wants to gain insight into how you react to stressful situations.

      Brian's Answer

      "Due to tight deadlines, travel and other demands of the senior auditor role, stress is inevitable. However, there are steps I take to help mitigate stress. First, I try to be as organized as possible. I am constantly prioritizing my workload to make sure time-sensitive tasks are handled before they are due. Next, I try to leave work at work. When not at work, I enjoy exercising, reading, and traveling. Being able to enjoy these activities makes me feel calmer and rejuvenated while at work."

  12. 12.

    What is the difference between fraud and error?

      This is a technical topic covered in the auditing standards under AU-C Section 240. The key difference between fraud and error is that the former is intentional and the latter is unintentional. There are two main types of fraud that an internal auditor should be concerned with: fraudulent reporting and misappropriation of assets (ie theft).

      Brian's Answer

      "The main difference between fraud and error is that fraud is intentional and errors are unintentional. As auditors, we are primarily concerned with financial misstatements that are caused by fraudulent financial reporting and misstatements that are caused by theft and other misappropriation of assets."

  13. 13.

    How do you keep up with the latest developments in auditing standards?

      This question is asked to determine if you take the initiative to stay current on the latest accounting developments. If you are a CPA, talk about how you use mandatory continuing education requirements to stay up to date on the latest trends and regulations.

      Brian's Answer

      "I stay up to date in various ways. First, I subscribe to e-newsletters from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for auditing standards updates and the Financial Accounting Standards Board for updates to generally accepted accounting principles. Additionally, since I am a CPA, I stay up to date on new standards for continuing education courses. I try to select courses that align nicely with the roles and responsibilities of my current position."

  14. 14.

    How would you describe your management style?

      The interviewer is checking to see if you are an effective leader and are a good fit for their company culture. A good way to kick off your answer is to describe what you believe makes a strong manager. Then note that you have those qualities.

      Brian's Answer

      "There are some key qualities that I believe make a strong manager. First, I believe a manager should give clear directions and then let their staff take those directions and run with them. I then make myself available to answer questions and offer guidance. Additionally, I believe a manager should be flexible, understanding that each employee has different needs and working styles. I try to make these qualities part of my management style."

  15. 15.

    What is the purpose of audit documentation?

      This is a technical question, asked to see if you are able to articulate the information that is gathered in the field to support the audit. According to auditing standards (pronouncement AU-C Section 230), the two primary purposes of audit documentation are 1) to provide evidence to support the auditor's conclusion and 2) to provide evidence that the audit was planned and performed appropriately.

      Brian's Answer

      "There are a couple important purposes of audit documentation. First, the documentation needs to support the conclusion the auditor reached in the audit report. Secondly, the documentation serves as evidence that the audit was planned and performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards."

  16. 16.

    What is your experience with interacting with senior executives at various organizations?

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  17. 17.

    Why do you want to work at ABC Public Accountants?

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  18. 18.

    Are you open to travel with this position?

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  19. 19.

    What would you do if during an audit you found an accounting practice that was suspicious?

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  20. 20.

    How would you deliver excellent customer service to clients in your role as Audit Manager?

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  21. 21.

    As external auditors, how can we rely on the work of internal auditors?

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  22. 22.

    Imagine a staff auditor is making mistakes during audit fieldwork. How would you handle the situation?

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  23. 23.

    As an audit manager, what steps would you take to ensure audit fieldwork runs smoothly?

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