What does an auditor do?

What does an auditor do?

By Published On: 5. December 2023


Hey, have you ever wondered what exactly an auditor does? Sure, they make sure that everything is above board in the balance sheets of large corporations and medium-sized companies, but what exactly is behind it? An auditor is not just a number cruncher, but also an important advisor on financial and business management issues. Whether for the annual audit, complex company valuations or tax matters - these specialists ensure transparency and trust. And that is important, because without trust our economic system would not function properly. The history of this profession is quite exciting and has evolved considerably over the years. From a simple auditor to an expert who has to master internationally recognized standards and norms. Nowadays, auditors are also important partners in digitalization and play an essential role in ensuring the integrity of companies. But let's delve deeper and take a closer look at what tasks an auditor has, what specializations there are and why their independence is so crucial. Ready? Let's go!

Introduction: The role of the auditor

When you think of an auditor, do you immediately think of dry figures and endless piles of files? Think again! This profession has a rather interesting and varied role in the modern economy. They are more than just accountants, they are vital to ensure the smooth functioning of our economy.

Definition and importance of an auditor

A chartered accountant, sometimes called an auditor for short, is a qualified professional who is best known for auditing companies' financial statements. Their job is to ensure that a company's financial records are accurate and compliant with applicable accounting standards. But their role goes far beyond that. Auditors also act as consultants - providing valuable insights and recommending improvements that help companies become more efficient and achieve their goals.

Think of an auditor as the guardian of commercial honesty. In a world where financial scandals and questionable accounting practices continue to occur, they play a critical role in maintaining the integrity and credibility of financial information. Through their work, investors, creditors and other stakeholders gain confidence in the data presented by a company.

What many people don't know: The field of activity of auditors is very dynamic and is constantly changing. Looking at the Future development of the job profileit is clear that digitalization is creating new areas of expertise and changing existing ones. This means that auditors must constantly train and adapt in order to meet current requirements.

Historical development of the profession

If we look back in time, the accounting profession was not always as established and recognized as it is today. At the beginning of the 20th century, as trade flourished and businesses grew rapidly, the need to bring order to finances and protect investments increased. This led to the emergence of the auditing profession.

The global economic crisis of 1929 highlighted the need for independent auditing of company financial statements, which ultimately led to the establishment of the auditing profession. In Germany, the profession was enshrined in law in the 1930s. Serious financial scandals throughout history have also helped to tighten the regulations for auditing and raise expectations of audit quality.

Historical milestones and legal changes had a major impact on the Profession of the auditor and shaped it into what it is today: a combination of solid training, continuous education and a strong ethical framework. Auditors need to be trained to learn how to interpret and analyze financial information. Only then will they be able to fulfill their responsibilities to the public and maintain the trust placed in them.

The role that auditors play today is a reflection of the development of the economy itself. Precision, analytical skills and ethical behavior are the pillars on which their work rests. They not only ensure confidence in financial transparency, but also support companies in overcoming economic challenges and setting themselves up for a successful future.

Basic tasks of an auditor

Audit of annual financial statements and consolidated financial statements

Let's get down to it, people! If you think the work of an auditor is monotonous, think again. The linchpin of their work is the annual audit. Here they put the accuracy of the bookkeeping and annual financial statements of corporations through their paces. Does that sound like a dry affair? Far from it! These experts delve deep into the figures and uncover what lies hidden. Is everything correct? Are the figures correct? The answers to these questions are essential for the trust of investors, employees and the public.

But that's not all. Audits of consolidated financial statements are even more international. Auditors assess whether the consolidated financial statements reflect the actual financial status of the group of companies and whether all international and national standards have been observed. It is a varied field that requires not only accuracy, but also an understanding of global business models.

And when it comes to the Limits to the independence of auditors every detail counts. Auditors must remain objective and neutral in order to ensure the credibility of their work. This is no easy balancing act, as they often have to move between their advisory function and their duty to provide an impartial audit. A challenge that goes far beyond simply understanding the figures.

Advice on business management issues

Nothing kicks up more dust than the word "consulting" in the context of an auditor. It shows that they are not only a master class in auditing, but also in turning the tide in rough economic waters. Yes, consulting is just as much a part of an auditor's DNA as analyzing columns of figures. They support companies in mastering complex business challenges, sharpening corporate strategy and optimizing operational processes.

Whether it's implementing new business processes, advising on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or critically scrutinizing investment decisions, auditors bring their analytical brilliance and extensive knowledge to bear to ensure maximum operational efficiency. In doing so, they rely not only on their expertise, but also on a range of Audit-related consulting serviceswhich are tailored to the individual needs of their clients.

Imagine you are faced with a complex company acquisition. This is where auditors come in to provide indispensable support with their expertise. They help to uncover the true values, identify risks and make the right decisions. Their advice can tip the scales as to whether a deal is a success or a flop.

But auditors are also indispensable in day-to-day business operations. They help to find out whether a company is on track or whether and where there may be a need for optimization. It's like a medical check-up for the profitability of a company.

As you can see, the work of an auditor is anything but one-dimensional. They are advisors, auditors, analysts and often the saviors in times of need when it comes to getting a company on the road to success or keeping it there. With their expertise, independence and deep immersion in the world of numbers, they ensure proper balance sheets and vital advisory support. This makes them an indispensable part of the economic engine that keeps our business landscape running.

Specializations within auditing

Sure, the work of an auditor is wide-ranging and full of challenges. But did you also know that there are various specializations within auditing? Depending on your talent and interests, as an auditor you can focus on certain areas and become a real crack at them. Whether it's tax issues, complex company valuations or special consulting activities in connection with mergers and acquisitions - as an auditor, you're in your element here. Let's take a look at a few of these exciting specializations!

Tax advice and international tax legislation

In the world of numbers, auditors are the superheroes of tax consultancy. They are not only familiar with German tax law, but also navigate the complicated waters of international tax legislation. Constant changes and adjustments to laws are not uncommon here. For global players and companies that operate across borders, this is worth its weight in gold. This is why expertise in this area is particularly in demand and auditors who specialize in this field are real aces up the sleeve of any internationally positioned group.

The international tax specialists ensure that companies are on the safe side when it comes to taxes, regardless of the complexities caused by different national tax systems. They help to avoid double taxation, appeal against unjustified tax claims and assist in taking advantage of tax benefits wherever legally possible.

Company valuation and M&A consulting

Now it gets really interesting! Because when a company is to be sold, bought or merged, the auditors' specialization in company valuation and M&A consulting comes into play. This requires a sure instinct and a wealth of experience. Auditors who have found their niche in this area are the masters of valuation. They analyze balance sheets, identify hidden risks and evaluate not only figures but also potential.

Through the Application of recognized valuation methods In addition to the capitalized earnings method and the net asset value method, they help to make company values transparent and comprehensible. It is not just about bare figures, but also about how market position, customer relationships, employee expertise and future business prospects influence the value of a company.

In the world of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), auditors with this specialization are true treasure hunters. They track down hidden values and are indispensable in supporting fair pricing. They are therefore often the first port of call in negotiations and are welcome partners at the table. And if you're now thinking that this is just a sober numbers method: on the contrary, it's often also about knowing people, negotiating skills and psychological intuition. After all, they are dealing with nothing less than the dreams and life's work of entrepreneurs.

Whether in the in-depth analysis of a company for a potential business deal or in tax advice for internationally operating companies - auditors with the right specialization are real all-round talents. They know how to constantly adapt to new situations and apply their knowledge in a way that brings the greatest benefit to their clients. With such experts at your side, you can be sure that your company will not only look good on paper, but will also be able to meet the challenges of the market in reality.

The specializations within auditing not only offer you a varied field of activity, but also make your work indispensable for the economy. Continuous further training and a deep immersion in the respective specialist areas turn interested auditors into true experts - and these are worth their weight in gold, whether it's about taxes, valuations or business-critical decisions. As an auditor, you will use your specialist knowledge to help companies navigate safely through the shark tank of the global market.

The importance of the auditor's independence

Let's imagine for a moment a world without independence - sounds pretty bleak, doesn't it? In auditing in particular, this independence is the be-all and end-all. It's about being objective and unbiased in order to maintain public trust and deliver fair and meaningful audit results. Without this foundation, the entire edifice of financial credibility could be shaken.

Legal requirements and ethical principles

Independence is not only a high ideal, it is also firmly anchored in the law. Auditors are bound by various professional duties to carry out their auditing activities free of any conflicts of interest. This not only protects the auditors themselves, but above all the integrity of the audited financial information. The legal requirements range from national regulations, such as the German Commercial Code (HGB), to internationally recognized standards.

But it's not just about what's on paper. Ethics are at the heart of the profession. The professional code that auditors follow includes values such as objectivity, confidentiality, diligence and, of course, independence. These ethical principles are crucial to maintaining the respect and trust of society. Impaired independence can not only cost auditors their jobs, but also undermine confidence in the fair conduct of business.

Measures to safeguard independence

Are you wondering how auditors ensure their independence on a day-to-day basis? Well, there are various measures and control mechanisms that are implemented to prevent too close a relationship with the client and the resulting bias. Regular rotation obligations for auditors, the avoidance of financial dependencies or the setting of clear limits when accepting consulting activities are just a few examples of this.

Important information and in-depth insights into the obligations that an auditor has in order to maintain independence can be found in detail on various online platforms. One example is the Wikipedia entry on auditor independencewhich provides valuable background information and highlights the key aspects of independence.

Compliance with independence principles is no walk in the park. Auditors are often faced with the challenge of weighing up their professional judgment against the economic interests of the client or even their own advantages. It requires strength of character and professional steadfastness to maintain this balance and not jeopardize one's own integrity.

The consequences of failing to maintain independence can be drastic and range from legal consequences and financial damage to irreparable loss of reputation. The Code of Ethics of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) illustrates the essential importance of independence for auditing and how it is integrated into professional regulations.

The world is evolving, and with it the demands on the profession. New business models, technological developments and global interdependencies constantly bring new challenges for maintaining independence. But the core remains the same: Only through independence can an auditor effectively act as an impartial control body and thus make a significant contribution to economic reliability.

Auditors' independence is therefore not only a central element of their professional activity, but also a guarantor of the credibility of the economy in general. It is at the forefront of the principles that ensure that auditors can make their contribution to fair and transparent business dealings. Without it, trust in the financial world would be severely undermined. So let us never lose sight of the importance of this principle, because independence is the currency in which auditors measure their value and practice their profession.

Training and qualification as an auditor

In order to participate in the auditing process, there is of course a whole range of training and qualification steps that future auditors have to master. Difficult exams, endless hours of studying and internships - it's all part of the process. But what exactly does it take to pursue such a demanding profession? Here we take a deep dive into the world of studies, professional requirements and the infamous auditor exam.

Study and professional requirements

The basis for a career as an auditor is usually a university degree, often in economics, tax law or a similar subject. But this alone is not enough to gain a foothold in auditing. In Germany, it is also necessary to gain practical experience - and that doesn't mean a brief taster during an internship.

The requirements can be pretty tough: You have to have several years of professional experience before you can call yourself an auditor. The Chamber of Public Accountants expects applicants to prove in practice that they not only have theoretical knowledge, but also practical skills. It is invaluable to learn how to apply what you have learned in the books in real business life and how to deal with challenges that do not always follow textbook solutions.

Those with an impressive mix of academic knowledge and real-life professional experience have a good chance in the demanding world of financial auditing. More detailed information on the admission requirements and the necessary career path can be found at Information about training to become a chartered accountant of the Chamber of Public Accountants.

The auditor exam

But the real Mount Everest - or should I say the Zugspitze? - for prospective auditors is the state examination, also known as the auditor's exam. This is where you are tested to see if you have what it takes to be one of the best of the best. But don't worry, it's achievable if you're prepared to work hard!

The exam itself consists of several parts, including written exams and an oral exam, and it requires a deep understanding of a wide range of topics. From accounting law to tax legislation to company valuation, you need to show that you are well versed in all relevant areas. It's no walk in the park, but those who get through the eye of the needle have every reason to be proud.

A veritable treasure trove of information for all those who want to embark on this adventure is the website Training as an auditorwhich goes into detail about the auditor exam and what exactly to expect on the way there. Here you will find answers to burning questions and get an insight into the hard facts of the auditor's everyday life.

Training to become a chartered accountant may be strenuous and demanding, but it paves the way for a professional career characterized by expertise, responsibility and, last but not least, a high reputation. A long road, but one that is rewarded at the end with the satisfaction of being an important pillar of economic integrity.

In conclusion, although the path to becoming a chartered accountant is paved with many tough tests, it is worth the effort. Those who have the necessary qualifications and the perseverance to achieve them will not only end up with a career with a secure foundation, but will also make a real contribution to strengthening confidence in our economy.

The daily work of an auditor

Well, have you ever wondered what the everyday life of an auditor actually looks like? Sure, in the minds of many people, the image of the gray gentleman in a suit digging through mountains of files still prevails. But the day-to-day work of these professionals is far more colorful and varied. Every day brings new challenges and different tasks - from detailed audit work to intensive communication with clients. But let's take a closer look!

Audit planning and execution

Careful planning is required before the actual audit work can begin. Auditors must determine which areas of a company should be examined more closely and how best to deploy their resources. To do this, they draw up an audit plan that defines all the steps and objectives of the audit. This plan is the roadmap for the entire process and helps to carry out the audit in an efficient and targeted manner.

The audit itself is then a sophisticated mix of analysis, critical evaluation and sometimes a bit of detective work. This is because auditors are not only responsible for checking the figures, but must also understand the business model and internal control mechanisms. This includes conducting interviews, inspecting documents and reviewing processes. And in all of this, they always have to stay up to date and familiarize themselves with the Latest changes in the audit system to deal with.

Communication with clients and authorities

You might think that the work of an auditor takes place in solitude behind closed doors, but that is far from the case! A significant part of their work involves interaction and communication with others - be it with clients to discuss audit results or with authorities and other institutions to carry out necessary coordination.

A good auditor is therefore not only an expert in figures, but also a valuable interface to a company's decision-makers. They must be able to communicate complex issues in an understandable way and ensure that all the necessary information is interpreted and implemented correctly.

In addition, auditors are part of a larger ecosystem where they are constantly sharing their findings and recommendations with others in the industry. They often work in teams and need to discuss their findings with colleagues to ensure that their conclusions are supported by solid evidence. These communicative aspects of the job are what make a good auditor and add a certain something to the day-to-day job.

The daily work of an auditor is therefore a balanced mix of analytical precision and communication skills. Sometimes it's a detective-like search for inconsistencies in the books, other times it's a diplomatic conversation with a client who needs tricky issues explained to them.

One thing is clear: auditors are more than just math artists. They are advisors, communicators and sometimes even conflict resolvers - a role that is crucial in business life. Their day-to-day work is multifaceted and requires a wide range of skills. But that is precisely what makes their daily work so exciting and valuable!

International standards and norms

Stop! Before we delve deeper into the everyday life and challenges of an auditor, let's take a look at the international standards and norms that form the framework for their work. In our globalized world, in which companies operate across national borders, uniform principles are essential for the credibility and comparability of financial reports. An auditor must not only know these rules of the game, but also be able to apply them - and with a precision that is second to none.

IFRS and ISA as framework conditions

What would a soccer game be without uniform rules? Pretty chaotic, wouldn't it? The same applies to auditing. Here, the International Financial Reporting Standards, IFRS for short, and the International Standards on Auditing, ISA, are the rules that ensure order in the game. The IFRS help to make financial information comparable worldwide. Because only if everyone reads and interprets the same set of figures in the same way can investors really make sensible decisions.

The challenge for auditors is that they must be up-to-date, as these standards are like a living organism that is constantly evolving. Especially in times of major changes, such as the Accounting for the effects of the US tax reform legislation under IFRSit is of immense importance that auditors know the current regulations and fully understand their implications.

But how do you stay up to date? One key aspect is continuous training. Auditors need to keep an eye on changes and be ready to adapt quickly. It's like a jigsaw puzzle where new pieces are constantly being added - and under time pressure. But that's exactly what makes the job exciting! It's all about staying on the ball and pioneering the application of new regulations.

Adaptations to local legislation

How do you apply a global standard to a local market? This is another art that an auditor must master. Each country has its own legal framework, and auditors are sometimes like translators mediating between these worlds. They have to ensure that companies not only comply with international standards, but also observe all local regulations.

The complexity arises especially when the international standard and local law do not quite go hand in hand. It requires a high level of expertise and analytical thinking to ensure that audit results meet international standards without neglecting local requirements.

Let's imagine a company that does business both in Germany and abroad. Finding the balance between meeting IFRS requirements and complying with national laws can be a real balancing act. Auditors must be particularly careful here and, if necessary, make specific adjustments that take into account, for example, that special reporting obligations exist in some countries or that different accounting rules apply.

International standards and norms as a framework for the auditor's work are therefore much more than just a technical necessity. They are a commitment to transparency, reliability and ultimately the promotion of a fair economic system that works across national borders. An auditor who has internalized these standards and works skilfully with them is a true master of his profession - and an indispensable navigator in the world of international finance.

Digital transformation in auditing

Have you ever noticed how rapidly our world is changing? Digitization, automation and optimization are everywhere. And you can be sure that auditing is also moving with the times. But what does this mean in concrete terms for the industry and auditors? Are they facing a digital revolution or rather an evolution? Let's embark on a journey through the digital landscape of auditing.

Use of IT systems and software solutions

Let's start with the tools that no auditor can do without these days. IT systems and software solutions are the bread and butter of a modern audit office. Imagine every click could cost you hours of manual work, and then along comes software that not only does the work for you, but is also much more precise. It's like switching from a coach to a high-speed train.

The advantages are obvious: efficiency and accuracy increase, while the error rate decreases. But it's not just about automating standard processes. Specialized programs enable auditors to carry out complex data analyses, model forecasts and better assess risks. Big data is the keyword here, and the ability to master large volumes of data has become indispensable. An exciting article about the Digitalization in the auditing profession from the Chamber of Auditors explains this in detail.

At the same time, digitalization is presenting the industry with new challenges. Cybersecurity is a major issue here. Nothing would be worse than confidential data falling into the wrong hands. Auditors must therefore not only be familiar with accounting and tax law, but also have a basic understanding of IT security. Continuous training is required here in order to keep pace with the lurking dangers in the digital space.

Opportunities and challenges of digitalization

One side of the coin shows the brilliant opportunities: faster testing, more precise results and a service that is better geared towards customer needs. But the other side also shows us the hurdles that need to be overcome. Technological literacy is becoming a central competence in the auditing profession. It is no longer just financial experts that are required, but also digital experts.

And this brings us to a point that should not be underestimated: the human component. When new technologies are introduced, work processes change and this is not always easy for employees. It takes time and effort to get used to the new tools and use them optimally. The key to success here lies in the balance between people and technology. The article offers an inspiring perspective on this Digitalization - Audit 4.0 - The audit of the future from bdp Team.

Digitalization is also having a positive impact on how auditors are perceived. In contrast to the old-fashioned image of the dusty auditor in a tower full of files, the modern, digitally ingenious analyst who thinks strategically and helps to make businesses fit for the future is now emerging. This gives the entire profession a fresher image and attracts young, tech-savvy talent.

Let's be honest - digitalization in auditing is not just a trend that can be ignored, it is a necessity. In order to remain competitive, auditors and their practices must accept this challenge and help shape it. This is the only way they can continue to offer their clients the best service and at the same time secure their own future. Are today's accountants ready for this transformation? The answer seems to be hidden in the bits and bytes of the digital world.

Auditors and corporate governance

The world of finance is an ocean full of opportunities and risks. Auditors play a key role in ensuring that no one is swallowed up by the waves of change. Particularly with regard to corporate governance, they are more than just a supervisory body, they are actually like a compass and a pilot at the same time. They help to set the direction and navigate companies safely through the sometimes stormy waters of the business world. But what exactly is their role? And why is the topic of corporate governance so important?

Legal requirements and ethical principles

Seen in the light of day, auditors can be seen as the guardians of generally accepted accounting principles. They not only ensure that everything runs according to the letter of the law, but also keep a watchful eye on whether companies are acting in accordance with ethical principles. This includes creating transparent structures and processes that strengthen the trust of investors, employees and the general public.

The legal requirements surrounding corporate governance are complex and constantly changing, presenting the auditing profession with ever new challenges. However, clients in particular expect their auditors not only to keep pace with these requirements, but also to help them maintain and improve ethical standards. This creates a solid foundation for sustainable business success.

Measures to safeguard independence

An independent view is essential for the credibility of auditing. But how do you ensure that this independence is also guaranteed in practice? It is clear that without a strict separation between auditing and consulting, the risk of conflicts of interest increases. This is why there are clear rules that stipulate, for example, the rotation of auditors for long-term mandates. This keeps a fresh perspective and maintains objectivity.

Continuing education and training are also vital to enable auditors to correctly assess and respond to current risks - be they financial, technological or ethical. Maintaining independence is an ongoing task that places high demands on every auditor.

Because auditors play a particularly important role in the corporate governance system, you can find more in-depth insights on this topic in the Article "Auditing as an element of corporate governance" by the University of Frankfurtwhich highlights the central role of auditors.

In a fast-moving economic environment, corporate governance is not a rigid system, but must constantly evolve. Auditors play a crucial role here, as they can help companies to critically scrutinize and adapt governance structures time and again. This also ensures integrity during change and strengthens the trust of all stakeholders in the company.

Auditors and corporate governance are therefore linked in a symbiotic relationship that forms the heart of a functioning economic system. It strengthens the trust of the public and all other stakeholders in the accuracy and fairness of financial information and business practices. Without this basis of trust, the stability and ability to develop of companies and thus the economy as a whole would be jeopardized.

Thanks to their sound training, strict professional rules and independence, auditors are therefore more than just auditors of facts and figures. They are important trailblazers for responsible and sustainable corporate management and control. They help to ensure that corporate governance is not just a buzzword, but a living reality in the corporate world.

The role of the auditor in times of crisis

When the economy faces stormy times or a company stumbles, auditors become irreplaceable crisis managers. Their role quickly changes from auditor to advisor and sometimes even savior in times of need. They not only analyze the financial situation of companies, but also develop strategies to limit the damage and implement reorganization and restructuring measures.

Restructuring advice and insolvency audit

The world of numbers can be tough and unforgiving, especially when companies run into financial difficulties. This is where the role of an auditor is not just to check the books, but to play an active role in providing restructuring advice. With their expertise and cool heads, they are often the only salvation to save a struggling company from insolvency or at least minimize the damage.

Auditors take an analytical and structured approach in order to identify the causes of an imbalance and develop viable concepts to restore profitability. Their support is multifaceted - it ranges from liquidity planning and negotiations with creditors to assistance with restructuring.

One example of the scope of their tasks in such times of crisis is the Restructuring advice from dhpga strong partner that supports companies in restructuring. Auditors can actively support clients in crisis situations and provide strategic advice based on their industry knowledge and professional expertise.

Auditors as crisis managers

What do you do when a company is facing serious challenges? This is where auditors are often called upon to act as crisis managers. Their analytical skills and objectivity are crucial when it comes to mastering critical situations. Auditors are not just passive observers, but find themselves in the role of active problem solvers.

A key element of crisis management is effective communication with stakeholders. Auditors must communicate with all stakeholders in a trusting manner in order to create a climate of openness and solution orientation. They act as a bridge between the management level, employees, investors and creditors and make a decisive contribution to strengthening or restoring trust in the company.

It is also important that, as neutral third parties, they are not afraid to make or propose tough decisions - even if it means cutting jobs or selling company shares, for example. Their independence is particularly important here and makes them indispensable players in the crisis.

An auditor in the position of crisis manager must also be able to wear several hats at the same time. They not only serve as financial advisors, but must also demonstrate a deep understanding of the business and its markets. The Crisis and restructuring advice from KONLUS shows how auditors can make the difference with their multidisciplinary expertise.

In the current economic situation, which is still characterized by uncertainty, the role of auditors as crisis managers is all the more important. They not only meet the challenges with competence and foresight, but also ensure that companies can emerge stronger from these difficulties. As a result, their role is increasingly shifting towards that of a comprehensive advisor that goes far beyond traditional auditing activities.

In summary, the role of auditors in times of crisis can be described as central and multifaceted. They are not only guarantors of financial integrity, but also rescuers, advisors and managers in difficult times. Their importance for the economy should therefore not be underestimated, as they help companies to find ways out of crises and secure their economic existence.

Future prospects for the profession

Let's take a look into the crystal ball of auditing together! The future of this profession is at least as fascinating as its past. Changes are on the horizon - from legislation to the demands of society. What does this mean for our auditors? Will they become heroes in the fight against white-collar crime and for environmental protection, or will they simply be swept away by the wave of digitalization? An exciting field to which we are now devoting ourselves with all its dynamics!

Developments in the regulatory environment

The regulatory environment is constantly changing - now more than ever. With the constant increase in international interdependencies and the need to integrate sustainable practices, auditors are faced with the challenge of keeping up to date with the latest regulatory developments. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria, for example, are playing an increasingly important role and auditors must be able to advise and audit companies on their sustainability reports.

The Disclosure Regulation and the resulting obligations for companies entail a whole chain of changes that will have a significant impact on the future work of auditors. As a result, the contribution of auditors to the sustainability and transparency of companies is increasingly becoming the focus of society. In order to support companies on this path, a profound understanding of the ESG requirements of the banks and other financial service providers.

Growing importance of sustainability and ESG criteria

Sustainability is no longer a niche topic, it has reached the mainstream economy and is increasingly shaping investment and business decisions. Auditors are at the forefront of finding answers to questions of environmental ethics, social responsibility and good governance. ESG issues are becoming an integral part of their auditing activities - a development that is both challenging and full of opportunities.

Clients now expect their auditors to be able to look not only at balance sheets, but also at CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) reports. This expanded understanding of their role requires additional specialist knowledge and inevitably means that auditors must also expand their expertise into the area of sustainability. An exciting interview with sustainability expert Patrick Velte about Auditing, ESG and biodiversity provides deeper insights into this future-oriented dimension of their profession.

Auditing is therefore not at the end of its development, but quite the opposite: it is entering a new era in which it acts as a mediator between the economy and the growing social demands for environmental protection and social justice. The profession is thus becoming an important player in a global movement that is working towards a sustainable and ethical economy.

Due to the extensive change in their tasks, auditors are evolving from traditional number detectives to consultants for holistic, sustainable corporate success. The professional horizon is expanding and with it the opportunities to leave a lasting positive impact as an auditor. There is no question about it: the future of auditing promises to be more exciting than ever before.

Auditors in international comparison

No company is an island, and this also applies to auditors. In a world where business takes place across borders, you have to think outside the box. So how do German auditors fare when we compare them with their international colleagues? It's a race for qualifications, standards and reputation - and that makes the industry really exciting!

Differences in training and practice

Let's start with the obvious: training. In Germany, the path to becoming a chartered accountant is clearly regulated, relying on the solid foundation of a university degree and several years of professional experience before the coveted WP exam. International qualifications such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the USA or the Chartered Accountant (CA) in the UK and Canada set similarly high standards, but sometimes cover different areas of specialization. It remains exciting, because the globalization of markets means that additional international qualifications are in demand in order to be able to play in the concert of the big players. You can find out more about this in the discussion with the international accounting and the associated qualifications.

Then there is the practical implementation - this is where auditors around the world differ enormously in some cases. In some countries, audit approaches are stricter, in others more advisory. Local regulations and corporate cultures play a major role and require auditors to be highly flexible and adaptable.

Globalization of auditing services

With globalization, auditing services have also become internationalized. The Big Four - KPMG, EY, Deloitte and PwC - dominate not only in Germany, but worldwide. These giants offer a wide range of services and serve clients all over the planet. However, smaller audit firms can also score internationally by positioning themselves as experts for specific industries or local markets. A closer look at the Big Four auditors shows what makes them so special and how they shape the global market.

Globalization also means that auditors in Germany have to compete with colleagues from other countries. It is a constant struggle for the best practices, the most efficient methods and the most innovative technologies. German auditors who secure additional international certificates have an advantage because they know how to harmonize global and local expectations.

Competition keeps all players on their toes and drives the profession forward. Continuous training and the pursuit of international recognition are the keys to success. Auditors in Germany have recognized this and are positioning themselves as valuable partners for globally active companies.

In conclusion, it can be said that international comparisons and the associated globalization offer German auditors opportunities to develop further and be successful on the global market. It is a dynamic field that requires a great deal of commitment and flexibility, but also offers exciting career prospects.

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About the Author: Sven Emmrich

Sven Emmrich avatar
Sven is a business graduate, DEKRA-certified coach and passionate entrepreneur. As CEO of Karrierehelden, he has been writing for many years on all career topics such as job applications and job changes, money and salary negotiations, leadership skills and management issues, psychology and personality development, communication and conflict management, self-confidence and entrepreneurship, and the line between work and private life with work-life balance... or much more work-life integration. Sven has coached over 1,000 academics, professionals and executives with his team and is happy to help you too.
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