I arrive at the client’s office at 9 am. We’re currently in the planning stage of the audit, and I’m spending most of my time meeting with the client’s management. This allows me to gain an understanding of how their business works.
My first meeting is at 9.30 am with the Cash Management team. I document how they process the organisation’s payment run. I spend the next half hour preparing a work paper that documents the business process and identifies key controls, such as sign-offs, reconciliations and other checks, which we will then examine in further detail during the testing phase of the audit.
I spend the next hour putting together a brief that summarises the organisation’s HR process – how they go about hiring and terminating employees, managing leave and making payments to employees. Things have changed quite a bit this year, so I’ve had a number of meetings with management to get an understanding of what has changed.
Before lunch, I have a meeting with a project area responsible for delivering a major government project. I’ve got an interest in the program after working on a performance audit in a related area. That audit looked at how well government departments assess the benefits of similar projects and I’m pretty keen to apply my knowledge in developing a testing program for the financial side of this project.
I head back to the ANAO office just before lunch and grab a bite to eat at the DFAT cafe; they’re right next door and you can get solid hot meals for $10 or less.
After lunch I have a meeting with some graduate colleagues in the System Assurance and Data Analytics Branch; we’re putting together a training presentation on using business systems and Excel for next year’s graduates. Learning and Development is an important aspect of the ANAO Graduate Program and I attend various courses which are great for my professional development and furthering my skills. This has driven me to contribute to next year’s program. After that, I head to a training session on different ways of testing audit populations.
I duck out mid-afternoon to get a coffee to keep me going and run into a teammate from a previous audit and we banter a bit about lessons learned from that audit and things we could do better next time. There’s always room to learn and improve.
I round out the day by doing some controls testing. A control test is essentially examining the effectiveness of processes used by management to ensure the reliability of the businesses’ financial reporting. This particular test involves examining a checklist the business has implemented to make sure decisions are made in line with legislation and then checking supporting documentation to ensure that the steps of the checklists have been applied and that the right people have reviewed the work of the original decision-maker.
After finishing up around 5.00 pm I head across the road to the pub for a few drinks with mates from work – it is Friday after all!
The ANAO is a great place to work because you’re given a high degree of autonomy and responsibility, training that will make you confident and capable, and you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of interesting public sector accounting issues that you won’t encounter in private accounting practice.