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What does a Field Auditor do?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A field auditor reviews the financial records of different branches or outlets of a corporation within a given region. He or she checks revenue reports, inventory forms, and other pertinent documents to make sure they are free from errors. If financial fraud is suspected, the auditor investigates suspicious records and interviews employees to uncover facts. The work of a field auditor helps officials at corporate headquarters make important decisions regarding financial policies.

Field auditors can fulfill some of their responsibilities from a central office, but the nature of the job generally requires extensive travel. Depending on the size and scope of a corporation, a field auditor may be required to log several hundred miles a week in travel by car or airplane. In most cases, trip expenses such as food and hotel room fees are compensated by the auditor's employer.

When meeting with branch representatives, the auditor is typically given access to detailed paper or electronic financial records. He or she goes through each line of information, checking figures against reported totals and records from corporate headquarters. In order to avoid accounting errors, an auditor must be very organized and able to recognize even the smallest discrepancies right away. Inconsistencies in financial reports are usually minor and do not require any more than a footnote on the official report back to the corporate office. When a large amount of revenue or funding is missing, however, the auditor may decide to initiate an investigation.

A field auditor first double-checks records to find out if finances were simply misplaced rather than suspiciously absent. If money cannot be accounted for, he or she normally begins a thorough fraud investigation. Other professionals may be brought in to aid in an inspection, but the auditor is generally the ultimate authority. He or she scrutinizes company and private bank accounts, employee histories, and possible suspects. When funds are tracked down, the auditor puts together a legal report and helps develop better company policies to avoid future problems.

There are no strict educational requirements to become a field auditor, but most professionals hold bachelor's degrees or higher in accounting or business management. In addition, prospective field auditors generally need to gain several years of experience as auditing clerks, fraud investigators, or business accountants before advancing to the position. A skilled auditor may be rewarded with an internal auditor job after working for a company for many years. Many professionals, however, enjoy the perks of traveling and decide to stay in field auditing positions throughout their careers.

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Discussion Comments
By matthewc23 — On Aug 06, 2012

@Izzy78 - That reminds me of a story near where I live. Soon after I graduated high school, one of the kids in my class got arrested for stealing money from the restaurant he worked at. He was the manager at closing who was responsible for cashing out all of the drawers and putting the money in the safe.

I guess whatever he did was coordinated with a couple of other people that worked there. He wasn't very good at stealing, though, because they discovered it the next week. The company sent in a couple of auditors who quickly found the problem and linked it back to the employees. I don't know what their final punishment was, but I don't think they stole enough to get in any serious trouble. Needless to say, though, it will probably be impossible for any of those people to get another job where they handle money.

By Izzy78 — On Aug 05, 2012

Although I think having a field auditor job would be enjoyable, I am sure it gets stressful at times. Besides needing all of the analytical skills that go along with being a good auditor, I think anyone with that type of job would have to be very honest and willing to deal with difficult situations.

I used to work at a restaurant that got regular audits. The man who did the work was very friendly until he got to work. At that point, he didn't want to be distracted, because he didn't want to miss anything in the books. Fortunately for the store I worked at, everything was always in order, so the guy could be pretty sure he wouldn't have any problems to deal with. At some of the other stores, though, I heard about cases where they had to call in several auditors, and people eventually got arrested.

By Emilski — On Aug 05, 2012

@jcraig - Becoming a field auditor can be a very good job. I have never done it, but I have a friend who used to do it for several years and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the company he worked for went out of business during the financial crisis, so he had to go into another field of accounting.

Like the article says, a field auditor often gets to go to lots of different places. My friend worked for a company with stores all over the US, so he got to visit California, New York, and Hawaii on a pretty regular basis and didn't have to pay for any of it.

It sounds like you know the general types of jobs you are interested in. Obviously, any accounting courses you can take will be good. Other high school classes that could help you down the line would be calculus, public speaking, and any business classes your school might have. Good luck!

By jcraig — On Aug 04, 2012

I have always heard that being an auditor is a good job to have. I am kind of interested in it, but am curious to know if anyone here has ever been an auditor or knows anything else about doing the job. I will be graduating from high school soon, and I am trying to find different things that I might want to study when I get to college.

If you get a job as an auditor, what types of companies can you work for? Does each company have its own auditors that go around and check accounts, or are there third party firms that go around and check the books for several different companies? Also, are there different types of auditor jobs? For example, what would be the difference between an auditor working for a manufacturing business and an auditor that works for the IRS?

Finally, are there any good classes I should take to prepare me for a job like this? I have taken a basic accounting class and a bunch of math classes.

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