What is life like during a person’s first audit season?
You’ve heard the myths and stories behind accountants’ first year as an audit professional. We recently had the opportunity to connect with one of our very own, Mary K. Blondin a junior staff accountant at our firm, to gather how this year’s audit season went for her.
What first audit season advice do you have for recent college grads?
You are only a first-year auditor once, so I would encourage recent graduates to take advantage of the opportunity to grow personally and professionally from the experience. I would also remind new auditors that no one expects them to have all the answers their first year, so don’t feel overwhelmed. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, they need to remember to get enough sleep!
What was the most difficult aspect of your first audit season? How did you resolve the issue?
One of the toughest challenges for me during my first audit season was keeping the large number of clients we served organized mentally. If I worked on several different audits in one day, it was easy to get confused. I would always have to look at my work papers as a reference when I needed to recall information. As I started doing fieldwork, I was able to speak to people in-person, which helped me visualize the place I was auditing and improved my recall. In the end, I learned to be patient and remember that understanding will come in time.
Is there anything that you’ve learned this season that you plan to carry with you to future audit engagements? If so, please explain.
Some of the most valuable tips I gathered this year are time management strategies. For example, instead of focusing on only one audit area at a time, I learned that I can manage my time more effectively if I give the client a list of everything I will need for the entire audit.
How did you maintain a work/life balance during audit busy season?
Balancing my work and personal life was a major priority for me during audit season. Over the summer, I was able to spend a couple of weekends up north with my family and make time to train for a ten-mile race in August (although I have to admit that I mostly walked!) When I needed to relax, I liked to play the piano or paint. I really enjoy working in a field where I’m required to think analytically and concretely, but then I can balance that critical thinking with creative activities. I would recommend new auditors find hobbies that keep them active because it makes a person well-rounded and prevents burnout.
Was there anything that happened that you did not expect going into audit season?
I don’t know that I can give an example of something I did not expect about audit season because I really didn’t know what to expect! I had an audit class during college, which gave me an understanding of the purpose and procedures of an audit, but school can only provide simulations. In real life, not everything is as neat and tidy. I was ready for the unexpected and excited to learn, and I am grateful to my coworkers for all their encouragement and patience.
What was the first personal activity you did at the end of this year’s audit season?
At the end of this year’s audit season, my first-year coworkers and I were given the opportunity to travel to Chicago for a week-long conference, which was a great way to tie together everything we learned. We had a generous amount of free time during the trip, so I took advantage of the opportunity to explore the city. Not only were we able to go shopping and visit some unique restaurants but we were also able to experience the celebration of the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series win in 108 years. Being from the Flint area, I really enjoyed the big city experience and found it to be a great way to enjoy some personal time at the end of a busy audit season.