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What is an auditor?


What is an auditor? It is someone qualified to produce a set of audited company accounts. Usually an accountant by profession, an auditor will be expected to scrutinise the numbers that have been presented by the company’s management and to raise questions where there are concerns of any kind.

Key takeaways:

  • An auditor is an independent professional or firm responsible for examining and evaluating the financial records and statements of an organization to ensure accuracy, transparency, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

  • Auditors play a crucial role in providing an objective assessment of a company's financial health and reporting, enhancing the credibility and reliability of financial information for stakeholders.

  • The primary objective of an auditor is to express an opinion on whether the financial statements present a true and fair view of the organization's financial position, performance, and cash flows.

  • Auditors conduct their work in accordance with established auditing standards, such as the Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) or International Standards on Auditing (ISA), depending on the jurisdiction and applicable framework.

Where have you heard about auditors?

Investors will be invited to vote at the annual general meeting on the appointment or re-appointment of auditors. When auditors either refuse to sign a company’s accounts or issue a 'qualified' opinion rather than a clean bill of health, questions will be asked. Auditors play a key role in preparing accounts ahead of an initial public offering.

What you need to know about auditors

Audit has long been one of the most prestigious branches of the accounting profession, and appointment as 'audit partner' of a blue-chip company is often considered a career peak.

Essentially, it is the auditor’s job to make sure that the figures provided by a company for the use of its creditors, shareholders and others actually make sense and add up. Most jurisdictions accept that auditors have to rely to some extent on the management’s data, and cannot check everything, but expect them to spot any glaring discrepancies. Increasingly, auditors are expected to also scrutinise companies’ claims for their social and environmental policies.

Find out more about auditors

To learn more about the critical role of auditors in scrutinising, questioning and verifying company accounts, see our definition of audited accounts.

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