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Auditor Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Auditor interview, here are 25 interview questions and answer examples.

Auditor was written by and updated on January 26th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

Have you ever had a documentation error occur during the auditing process? How did you handle it?

How to Answer

This is important because you'll run into documentation errors. Early in your career or even late, you'll miss something. It's human nature to overlook something, which is why most audits have several layers of auditors or reviewers to find these things. When you miss something or have a documentation error slip through that's found by another layer, it's humbling and sometimes discouraging. Use it as an important learning opportunity.

When you make a documentation error, you need to bounce back. Maybe you provided too much documentation and the external auditors are now digging deeper into a direction that you can't answer. You need to adjust and learn from the mistake.

Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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25 Auditor Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1. Have you ever had a documentation error occur during the auditing process? How did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      This is important because you'll run into documentation errors. Early in your career or even late, you'll miss something. It's human nature to overlook something, which is why most audits have several layers of auditors or reviewers to find these things. When you miss something or have a documentation error slip through that's found by another layer, it's humbling and sometimes discouraging. Use it as an important learning opportunity.

      When you make a documentation error, you need to bounce back. Maybe you provided too much documentation and the external auditors are now digging deeper into a direction that you can't answer. You need to adjust and learn from the mistake.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never worked professionally as an auditor, but I learned in school while writing papers that if your asked for certain bullet points and you stray from that, it will affect your grade. Say you have to write a paper on King Tut but you stray to his wife and family and most of your paper is focused on them, your grade will reflect your distracted focus and not the "A" you were expecting."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      1st Answer Example

      "Yes. When I was in my first year of auditing, I provided one document that should have been excluded. The external auditors ripped that apart and requested more documentation to follow up. My manager came to me and explained the error and used it as a learning moment for me. I realized that I had provide too much, which was the reason for all the last minute scrambling that we then had to endure."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Experienced

      "Yes, that's something that happens from time to time to everyone. If you miss a documentation error, it's embarrassing and can open the door to more questions. I was a second round reviewer and missed that some of the documentation provided was from the previous year. I never looked at the year of the date, only the beginning of the date. It was embarrassing, and when my boss reviewed it, we quickly found out that it was missed by two lines of review. We had to go to the client and find the correct documentation. It didn't take long to correct it, but I missed it and should have found it myself."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

  • 2. As a CPA, have you ever signed off on an audit and if so, what does that mean to you?

      How to Answer

      This is one of the most important jobs an auditor can do. Signing off on an audit is you staking your reputation that this company passed the audit and is in good standing. You have to provide a letter from the auditor providing your opinion of the company's standing. This isn't a matter to be taken lightly. If you're wrong and provide incorrect data, you could be sued and prosecuted.

      If you're not a CPA, this doesn't apply, so explain that to them.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I'm not a CPA yet but I intend to become one. When you sign off, that's a big responsibility, one that I'm not ready for at this stage of my career."

      1st Answer Example

      "Yes, I've signed off on an audit and it's a huge responsibility. I'm putting my name, reputation, and career on the line when I do that. I don't sign off until I'm certain that the company is in good standing or I've outlined the position in the auditor's letter released with the financial statements. I take this matter very seriously because my livelihood's on the line."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Experienced

      "Yes, I have. Several times. It takes a lot to get me to provide a good report on a company so it had better have everything in line. I'll have several different audit teams reviewing all their documentation and process controls to ensure nothing is missed. If I'm staking my career and name on a sign off, then I'll do everything possible to ensure everything's correct."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

  • 3. Have you ever discovered fraud in an audit?

      How to Answer

      This is a yes or no question. You shouldn't dig too deep into it because you've likely signed a NDA and providing details would be inappropriate. If they do ask for details, give broad answers that don't disclose major details.

      If you've never discovered any fraud, that's something to celebrate.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never encountered this issue and I hope that the company I work for will never have that issue. I'd hope that everyone has strong enough ethics and loyalty not to steal from the company."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      1st Answer Example

      "I've discovered discrepancies that were later revealed to be attempts at fraud. I escalated it and upper management resolved it. Unfortunately, I signed an NDA so that's all I can say on the matter."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Experienced

      "I've encountered that in the past and it was a rare moment in my career. I took it to the CFO, who dealt with it directly after we traced it to the source. It was handled legally and our company was better for it."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

  • 4. Give me an example of a time you pushed back when asked for additional documentation and why.

      How to Answer

      This is important. If you've been an auditor long enough, you've pushed back on a request for additional documentation. How you push back is also important. No one wants to work with an auditor who's a jerk and just says 'No' with no explanation.

      You have to be willing to explain why you don't want to provide further documentation. Sometimes, it will feel like you're falling down a rabbit hole, so take care with this.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've had no professional experience with this, but in my college job working in the admissions department, we had this really nosy supervisor. She wanted to know every student's financial status even if she didn't work on their admission. I refused to let her see my admissions files one day because she had no reason to view them and she got her boss involved. When her boss talked to me, I explained my push back and the matter was dropped. She was transferred shortly after that because of her snooping."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 5. Have you ever been burned out during an audit? How did you regain your focus?

      How to Answer

      This is a very common issue during an audit. More than once I've been burned out from working long hours of going in early and getting home late. You need something to keep you grounded and help you work through the burnout or avoid it all together.

      There are several ways to avoid burnout. All of them include taking control of the situation and putting yourself in a good mindset. You can listen to music, podcasts, or joke around with a friend. Breaking the project into parts and ensuring you take a five minute break every hour will help as well.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "When I was in my senior year of high school, I was in all AP classes. When the year was wrapping up, I had to study for the SAT's, the ASVAB (the military test), four AP finals, as well as write three two-thousand-word papers on various topics and complete an AP Economics project. I felt so overwhelmed and burned out that I couldn't focus on anything. My mom taught me the best way to handle it was to schedule my day. I'd spend my time in class only focusing on that class for study or assignment. When I got home, I'd have certain days that I worked on certain tasks. Saturdays I broke up my day to focus on everything for a little while and completed everything in stages. This is the method I've used ever since."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 6. If you could change anything about being an auditor, what would it be?

      How to Answer

      This is a subjective question. I can't tell you what to answer here, but I can tell you whatever it is, don't not make it sound like the worst aspect of the job. If you wish SOX had never happened, don't go on about how the government is overstepping into corporate affairs. No one wants to hear a rant.

      If you don't know anything you'd change, admit it. It's always refreshing to find someone who knows and loves their field.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I don't think I'd change anything. All the regulations in place are there to protect the people in the company and the field of auditing. It comes in waves. Sometimes you're really busy, other times you have more time to relax, so it's easy to plan vacation time and days off. I enjoy all aspects."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 7. Are you okay working longer hours certain times of the year or if a job had a deadline?

      How to Answer

      This is important to know because in auditing, there are high-volume times of the year. Usually at the end of every quarter is crunch time as well as end of year. At the beginning of the quarter, you usually have a lot more time to do things and prep.

      If you can't handle working late or long hours, then this may not be the career for you. This job relies heavily on other people to provide documentation for you to review. If those people take all day to get that documentation, then sometimes you have to either bring work home or stay late.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I don't mind at all! I love the opportunity to work late, as that's when co-workers come together to get things done. I don't mind having tight deadlines, and getting the job done is something I specialize in."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 8. If you were given documentation that didn't make sense mathematically, what would your next steps be?

      How to Answer

      This is important. When handling a financial audit, you'll have to redo calculations and formulas to ensure the numbers provided are accurate. You'll have to know the local applicable tax rates and all other variables.

      If you find something that doesn't add up you, you'll have to go back to the person who submitted it and let them know so it can be corrected. As the auditor, it's not your responsibility to fix the error, it's your job to report it.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "If I encountered an error, I'd confer with a co-worker or my boss to determine exactly where they went wrong. Then I'd take it back to the company, client, or person who submitted it and have them correct it. Once it was corrected, I'd continue the audit."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 9. Tell me about a time when you sought guidance, from another coworker who was the same level as you?

      How to Answer

      This is important because during an Audit you need to be able to rely on people around you for knowledge. If you cannot use the people around you then that would be a problem in itself. Auditing is a team sport so sometimes you will learn something from the same level, a lower level or a higher level. You cannot be prideful and think that you are smarter than everyone in the room or you will fail.

      If you do not have auditing experience draw on an opportunity to learn from another part of your life.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I have no Auditing experience with this but when I got my first job as a waitress I was trained by my peers. They taught me how to memorize the menu quickly and how to multitask the tables like a pro. I leaned on them for their experience and knowledge and soon people began to lean on me the same way."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 10. How many times have you run an auditing team?

      How to Answer

      This is a direct question that requires a direct answer. Remember, this will probably be verified through references from your previous companies. Don't fabricate or embellish because that can cost you the job.

      If you've never run an auditing team, be honest. You can't lead a team when you're fresh out of college or have only participated in one audit on which you were the first line. Experience matters.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never managed an auditing team, but with my level of experience I don't think that would be appropriate as I wouldn't want to miss anything and put the company at risk due to my level of knowledge."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 11. Do you enjoy traveling?

      How to Answer

      If you're auditing for a corporation, there's a really good chance that you'll be traveling a lot. I know most internal auditors travel at least 30% of the time. External auditors or contracting companies like PWC and Deloitte travel upward of 90% of the time. Yes, you can do less traveling, bu you're likely to do some, so being open to it is important.

      If you don't like travel, be honest as your answer will be applied to for your position. If you hate travel, they could put you on travel limited to 10% or less. Don't lie about your objective. I'll use what I said in my interview below. Be very clear on your priorities and where you stand. If you're fresh out of college with no obligations, that's the time for travel, so embrace it.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I'm just out of college with no family to rush home to, so I'm free to travel as much as necessary. I'd love to travel oversees to help clients and sightsee in my spare time."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 12. Have you ever been offered a bribe? How did you react?

      How to Answer

      Auditing is a profession that affects the stock market. If you audit a company and they fail, their stock prices will most likely fall. A failure indicates that the company isn't complying with SOX regulation for documentation or financial procedures. It marks the company as untrustworthy or disorganized. So for an auditor, it's important to have strong ethics.

      If someone has ever offered you a bribe or tried to pump you for information regarding a client, you'll know it. You don't talk specifics with people in this line of work. You'd never say to a stranger in a bar that the company you're auditing is going to fail and if you do, you could cause a sudden stock short. Ethics is important and being consistent with your ethics is particularly important.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never been offered a bribe for auditing, but in high school, I had a classmate that tried to pay me to do his homework. I ended up tutoring him because I told him the homework was only ten percent of the grade and if he didn't learn it, he'd fail the tests. He passed the class with a B and we spent three nights a week learning Geometry together."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 13. What do you enjoy most about being an auditor?

      How to Answer

      This is a subjective answer. I can't tell you why you enjoy being an auditor. This is personal to you and no one else. I can tell you why I love being an auditor and what I love about being an accountant, but that's not you.

      Don't embellish this if you don't know. If you're simply testing the water, admit it. No one can blame you for not having the perfect answer to this question.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I don't know if I'll enjoy it. I loved the auditing classes I took because they were like piecing together a puzzle and I've always loved puzzles."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 14. Why do you want a career as an auditor?

      How to Answer

      This is a subjective question. This is basically asking why you want this position. If you don't know why you want to be an auditor, then probably won't enjoy it. Auditing is reviewing the work of others and checking for errors, and finding where the documentation came from and determining if the information provided can be supported by proof for outside auditors to review and accept. It entails many caveats and details that are easily overlooked but must be understood.

      This is a field for people who enjoy details and like puzzles. The more difficult the puzzle, the more you'll be paid.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I want to be an auditor because in school, that was my favorite course. I had a lot of classmates that said auditing was boring and redundant and I went into the class with the same attitude. I quickly discovered that it was like a puzzle. I love puzzles! It's like be an investigator for a company to ensure they're protected when it comes to compliance."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 15. Have you ever faced a documentation overload during an audit? How did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      There will be times during an audit when you'll see so much documentation that it will seem overwhelming. There's a fine line between too much information and not enough. You don't want to give external auditors too much information that will prompt them to ask more questions, but you want to have enough documentation to avoid them asking for more.

      The fine line that auditors walk is tough to determine sometimes, so when you think you have too much documentation, you should ask one question about every piece of paper you get. 'How do I know this is correct according to company policy?' If you're not sure about the document you're reviewing, then you need one more layer.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never worked an audit professionally, but in college I had an auditing class where my teacher did something similar. She told us for our final we'd be performing an audit for one quarter of the year. She gave us two years of documentation in no particular order to show that sometimes companies just dump stuff on you without organizing it. We had to sift through everything and find every single document that pertained to the Q3 of the year we were looking for. It took some time, but being highly organized, I was able to handle it and got an A on the project."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 16. Everyone has to bend or break rules sometimes. Give me an example when you had to that in auditing or accounting.

      How to Answer

      This is a double-edged sword question. You don't want them to think you're a rule breaker, but if if you need to be flexible, at times it could be necessary. The best way to answer this question is to fall back on your ethics and find a compromise rather than bend or break the rules. It's a violation of SOX compliance to break the rules regarding auditing. This is how CPA's lose their licenses and even go to prison. Be careful how you answer this question.

      If you have no auditing experience, this is a much safer question to answer but I'd still be very careful about anything you decide to share. No one wants to hire a criminal but they do want you to play ball.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I have no real world auditing experience, but I do know that ethically you can't break the rules of SOX compliance. There are ways to bend the rules slightly by finding middle ground or exemptions to disallow for failures on certain aspects. I'm unsure of the exact process, but I can and will find out how that's done. Ethics is what makes or breaks an accountant or auditor so you should never want someone to break the rules while working with your company because they can be criminally charged."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 17. What platforms have you audited in the past?

      How to Answer

      This is a basic question. Auditing is not like regular accounting. There will be programs that most people have not heard of. Basically, anything that affects the company can be audited, i.e., financials, health insurance, IT compliance, etc. You'll run into so many different systems that those you use at one company may not be the same at any other company you work with.

      If you don't have any experience with any platforms, admit it. Honesty is always the best policy.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never worked with a platform related to auditing. I'm just out of college but I'm a fast learner and am told I'm easily trainable."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 18. If you find a process that's time consuming and frustrating, what would you do?

      How to Answer

      This is a way of asking if you'd consider improving a process or suggesting an improvement without being asked. It's important as an auditor to help client companies grow and become independent. To accomplish this, auditors are often frequently required to review and improve the processes.

      If you haven't done this, admit it rather than fabricate something. This isn't something you generally learn in school so being honest is the best policy. This could be a good place to show problem solving in different way from personal experience.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never had the opportunity in the professional world to do, that but when I was a kid both my parents were laid off within days of each other so I came up with the idea for my brother and I to start a lawn care company. At first my dad laughed when we took the mower and went door to door, but when we came home with two hundred dollars covered in grass and dirt and gave him the money, it showed him that we cared about our family's financial situation."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 19. Have you ever been overloaded with work, i.e., multiple auditing contracts or clients at once, or just a large amount of auditing work all at once?

      How to Answer

      This is important, and if you've been an auditor for a while, then you've definitely been overloaded at some point. This is a good time explain the situation and how you resolved it. Knowing that even if you stepped back and had to ask for help is the right answer.

      You should never fabricate something, so if you don't have experience being overloaded with work in the professional world, turn to the academic world. Most people have been overloaded at some point in their lives.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "When I was in college, I was on my own. I went to school and lived in an apartment off campus. I worked three jobs to maintain my apartment and my courses without going into debt and I played basketball for the school. I was so busy that I had a reminder set on my phone every time I needed to leave one place to get to another. I once left a game and went straight to work at a restaurant where I was a waiter before I went to the nightclub where I was a bouncer. I would generally get up at 4 am to get to the coffee shop where I worked in the mornings before classes. I was able to get through school debt free and pass all my classes to get to were I am today. Yes, I was overloaded, but I can handle it."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 20. If you're working for multiple clients at one time, how do you monitor the amount of hours you spend on one compared to the other?

      How to Answer

      This is a time management question. Most auditors will have multiple clients at once. This is especially true if you're working for an audit firm like PwC or Deloitte. You have to be able to show when you're working for one client and not the other for billing as well as for explanations why something has been paused. Clients don't like to hear or know about your other clients, but most are understanding.

      Take me, for example. I work full time at a tech company, but when I'm home and have down time, that doesn't affect my current job of assisting with these postings. I also have a blog that I write. It's all about time management.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "In college, I had a planner that I used to track the amount of time I spent on each class and the associated homework. I also used that to track my schedule for work and sports activities. It helped me stay organized and I ensured I never missed one assignment or a single day of work."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 21. By providing examples, convince me that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations, and environments.

      How to Answer

      This is important in an audit because you'll most likely be traveling a lot. You'll have to deal with different types of people and situations. Auditors travel all over the world to do their jobs. You could be in California today and Tokyo tomorrow. You have to be able to adapt quickly and maintain the work standards you've always provided.

      When faced with a question like this, you need to think of something you had to do that wasn't only hard but out of your norm. It can be work related or personal as long as it gets the point across that you can handle a wide variety of people in a unfamiliar situation or environment.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "When I was in high school, my dad got transferred from our small town in California to a smaller town in Arizona. I was put into all AP classes because those were the only classes not full, so I studied my heart out and passed all my classes. I joined the cross country and track and field teams and spent the last two years of high school focusing on getting ahead. That's why I got a scholarship for my grades and extracurricular activities."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 22. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor?

      How to Answer

      Audits are stressful. There's no way around that. If you've ever worked on an audit, there was likely a time when you and everyone around you felt pressured by the deadline and outlining the data to be easily understood. Supervisors are people too, and they feel the pressure from above them, so if a supervisor is difficult, it may help to put yourself in their shoes.

      Think of a supervisor you've had or a teacher who was difficult to deal with. How did you handle it? Was it an appropriate way to handle the situation? You never want to give an example of that's going to make you look bad. Hopefully, you've risen above a situation where someone has been difficult.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I had a teacher who didn't like jocks. I was on the football team, the soccer team, and the track and field team, so I was covered in jock. He'd hold tests on days when we had games or meets and refused to let us make up the tests until we went to the principal. The principal helped us because we had no power in that situation, but the teacher's attitude didn't change until one day I saw him outside of school. He came to where I worked at a local pizza place and gave me attitude. I calmly told him that I held no ill will toward him because it was obvious he had an issue with jocks in his life. I asked him if he wanted to get to know me as a person to see that I was a good kid who just liked playing sports. I never bullied anyone and had always treated others with respect and dignity because I was raised right. He changed his attitude after that and started to reach out more to the students."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 23. Describe a time when you had to work with a large team auditing team and how you handled it.

      How to Answer

      Auditing is a team sport. You'll never be in it alone. You'll have supervisors, subordinates, and clients everywhere. It's essential that you can adjust to the various personalities you'll be working with and maintain a professional relationship no matter how stressful the situation may become.

      If you struggle with this, then the suggestion would be to work on a reserved attitude. You never want to come off as unwilling to work with a client or vendor because of personality issues. That reflects poorly on you, rather than them, most of the time.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never worked professionally with a large group, but in high school I was in student government. I was president of our senior class and ran all the government meetings. We planned dances, prom, the graduation process, and class trips. We met with various clubs within the school to coordinate programs and fundraisers. I had to work with just about everyone in the school at one time or another, which can be difficult considering the attitudes and concerns of teenagers."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 24. If you were an external auditor, what's the first thing you'd ask for when entering an audit?

      How to Answer

      This question is to test your knowledge of the proper steps to take at the very beginning of a project. There are a few different answers that all lead to the same thing. You need to know the scope of the audit. You need to see exactly what you're looking at. It's highly unlikely that you'll be auditing an entire company yourself as most publicly traded companies are far too large for one person to handle.

      You'll want to have a scoping meeting to decide what everyone will be looking at or if the contract hasn't been arranged, a contract meeting.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I'd be looking for the scope contract paperwork to tell me what I'd need to look at and what constitutes white noise."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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  • 25. Describe a difficult auditing project and how you overcame it.

      How to Answer

      This is an important question not only to demonstrate how you handled a difficult project but also because auditing is a very confidential field of work. Most auditors have to sign an NDA or non-disclosure agreement because what auditors are reviewing will generally inform investors whether or not they should invest in the company.

      It's important to know how to how to be discreet while also providing the interviewer what they want to know. A good way to do this is not to mention which company you're talking about. This becomes harder when you have little work experience, but that's where you be vague about the type of audit you worked on. It's also good to mention the NDA you signed to show that you take your commitments seriously.

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I've never worked as an auditor on a project, but in school, we had an auditing project and for the final, our teacher had us simulate the timeline of a real time audit. This means we were given a massive amount of data with a deadline of two weeks, and some of the data was held back until three days before it was due. This simulates how the world of auditing works. It's a lot of hurry up and wait, then sprint to the finish line."

      Written by Samantha Hamilton on January 25th, 2019

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