Canary Wharf station
There will come a time in every auditor’s career where you need to leave the office to go visit the client. It is the most valuable time on the job as you see the client, the people, the situation and get to interact face-to-face.

The NAO is slightly special in that many of its clients are more than a couple of hours away, and thus necessitate staying over. In many cases you can think of it as a working holiday; and like all holidays you will need your bag of clothes, things to do (books, magazines, DVDs) and the essentials (laptop, power cable, paper and pens).

Many of my away audits have me starting at London Euston. As with many holidays the start is somewhat early; meeting between 6:30 and 8:00 am is typical but this will vary from job to job. Looking up at the board the platform number pings into existence and the mad rush for the train begins, though as tickets are booked in advance you should have a seat, so strolling is an option.

When you get to the client, the first morning and early afternoon is usually spent meeting people (especially if you are new to the audit), learning where everything is and generally getting settled into the audit room. There may even be a few meetings scheduled. At the end of the day you will pack up, get into a taxi (or minibus!) and head to the hotel before beginning the lottery that is hotel room allocation.

Once you are moved in you can unpack and view your domain for the week (and watch some Pointless) before heading out to dinner, ideally with your team. This is your chance to enjoy all that (insert place name here) has to offer! The sights, the smells, the tastes! There are some fantastic places to eat (Lone Star Bar & Grill in Buxton is my personal favourite, ask for the ‘Big Driller’ and consider it a meal challenge!) and during the summer months you may get time to go exploring. Over the course of a week you can sample many restaurants and often see a reasonable amount of the place you are visiting (if appropriate; some clients are more remote than others).

Typically your away visits will last more than one week but you will not be expected to stay over the weekend. Instead you will head back to London, aiming to return between 17:00 and 19:00 before heading to your actual home to relax for the weekend. Queue the frenzy of washing, buying enough food to last two days and ironing shirts ready for the next week before finally going to sleep on Sunday night, ready to venture back out into the wide world for the next week.

Any questions? Join our Twitter Q&A on 18 November 2013

Have you got any questions around applying for our graduate scheme?

Rob from our recruitment team and Hannah, one of our trainee bloggers, will be available on Monday, 18 November 2013, from 4-5pm on Twitter (@naograduatejobs). Post your questions during the event and get an answer straight away.

If you cannot make the event, please tweet us beforehand @naograduatejobs and we will make sure to answer your questions during the live session.

Hashtag: #AskNAOgrads

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