Start your career in the Audit and Finance Consulting department
Auditing is a set of activities designed to assess the compliance and effectiveness of a company or organization's processes, systems, and practices. To achieve this, auditors must adhere to strict auditing standards to ensure the integrity and impartiality of their work. The most common auditing standards are those of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB).
One of the main attractions of this profession is that, after two years, auditors can move into team management positions in the field. What's more, the auditor very quickly takes on responsibilities as he or she manages the assignment on the customer's premises. They are the key contact between the company and the manager. What's more, the diversity of assignments, customers and environments is highly attractive. An employee may audit the accounts of a bank one week, then those of a leasing company the next, or those of an insurance company the week after that.
The Audit & Assurance department in charge of audit due diligence
To begin with, there are two types of audits: internal and external. Internal auditing, as the name suggests, takes place inside the company, and is therefore like a form of management control. External auditing, on the other hand, is an independent assessment carried out by a statutory auditor. Furthermore, a distinction can be made between a statutory audit and a contractual audit. The statutory audit is defined by law and carried out by a statutory auditor whose mission is to certify the company's accounts. In contrast, a contractual audit is requested by the company in response to a specific need, such as due diligence for an M&A transaction.
Whatever the case, an auditor's main objective is to carry out an in-depth analysis of the functioning of a company or one of its departments.
The essential stages of audit due diligence
- KICK off meeting. This is a team meeting whose aim is to set the scope of the audit work and identify the major facts on which the auditors need to focus their attention.
- Internal control review. The internal control review is the most important part of the audit. Once they have analyzed the company's environment, the auditors carry out work which ultimately enables them to pronounce on the fairness of the financial statements presented to the company's various stakeholders (management teams, employees, investors, and shareholders).
- Financial audit. This is the most important stage for the audit teams. It is at this point that the auditors put into practice their understanding of the client's environment to carry out their work, which ultimately enables them to pronounce on the fairness of the financial statements. These are then presented to the company's stakeholders (management teams, employees, investors, and shareholders).
- CAC. The statutory auditor reviews the financial statements presented in the appendices, and issues reports on the annual or consolidated financial statements. This is the last stage of the audit, but a crucial one.
What opportunities are there in the Audit and Finance Consulting departments?
Auditing remains one of the main routes into the world of finance, not least because it represents a gateway into the corporate world, enabling students to develop a certain rigor and work ethic, and to gain first-hand experience of the world of figures and finance.
Working in auditing offers many opportunities, especially for students wishing to work in a Transaction Services, Restructuring or Valuation department. In short, students who do an internship in Audit considerably increase their chances of landing an M&A internship later.
What are the differences between Audit, M&A and Transactions Services?
The audit department, in charge of controlling the accounts, plays a key role in the transaction. In a transaction, the M&A department is the "orchestra conductor". It coordinates the actions of the various players involved in the deal: strategy consultants, lawyers, tax specialists, etc. Transaction Services plays a more specific role, producing a financial due diligence report.
How to land an audit internship with the Big Four?
The auditing market is dominated by 6 companies: Deloitte, KPMG, EY (Ernst & Young), Accenture, Mazars and PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers). When considering interviews for this field, it's imperative to have solid accounting expertise and a solid grounding in law. It's also important to note that when looking for opportunities in auditing, it's essential to carry out investigations to understand the distinctions between different firms, particularly among the members of the Big 4, namely Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC.
Find out more about interview questions
Interested in auditing? We've written an article dedicated to interview questions (recruitment process, example of an interview at Mazars, case study).