An internship or summer job at an accounting firm that offers auditing and assurance services is a good entry into the field. Visit the Web sites of the Big 4 accounting firms - Deloitte (https://www2.deloitte.com), PwC (https://www.pwc.com), EY (https://www.ey.com), and KPMG (https://home.kpmg/us/en/home.html) to learn more about the types of audit and assurance accounting services they provide, the clients they work for, and to search for potential job openings. Learn more about news and trends in the industry by reading accounting and auditing publications offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Conduct an informational interview with an audit and assurance accountant to find out how they got started in their career and what recommendations they may have for you.
Audit and assurance accounting services are typically provided by certified public accountants for companies of all sizes. For audits, accountants systematically review and investigate the financial books, records, and documents of an organization to make sure the reports are accurate and compliant with laws and regulations. Auditing involves reviewing historical financial information, such as purchase orders, billing statements, and tax returns, and is usually the first step before assurance. External investors and creditors rely on the findings of audit accountants when making financial decisions.
Assurance services are used by internal managers and supervisors at companies to help them make more informed decisions based on third-party research and assessments. Assurance services may include reviewing financial documents or transactions, such as mortgage loans, contracts, or a financial Web site, to assure the calculations are accurate and the information is valid. Some certified public accounting companies also provide assurance services in nonfinancial areas, such as data security, quality control, and environmental performance.
Audit and assurance accountants may specialize in external audits, financial accounting advisory services, or fraud investigation and dispute services. Certification is required for most audit and assurance accounting jobs and familiarity with accounting principles and financial statement presentations is important. Accountants must also be familiar with various financial software, such as QuickBooks, CCH ProSystem Engagement, SAP ERP, among others.