Training contractAs final audit begins and my intake approaches the end of our training contracts, it seems like a fitting time to reflect on the past couple of years at the NAO. When you join the office, you start as an AA1 (Assistant Auditor, year 1) and each year you move up a step to AA2 and AA3. You get a pay rise for each of these steps. On completion of the ICAEW exams, you are promoted to Auditor and once you have fulfilled all of the requirements of the ICAEW and finished the three-year training contract, you will be considered for promotion to Audit Principal.

The kind of financial audit work that you are given in each year will be different and you will gradually take on more responsibility. In your first year, you will probably do some of the simpler audit work such as sample testing, checking individual transactions back to supporting evidence. As an AA2, you may be given responsibility for an entire area of the accounts or some of the work that requires more judgement. Sometimes AA2s are given the chance to be the second lead on an audit with a view to leading it in their final year.

As an AA3/Auditor, you will probably be leading a small audit or a key part of a larger audit. This may involve managing a team of three or more and having responsibility for the testing approach, staffing and budget. Whilst this can be challenging, it is rewarding to look back and think about how far you’ve come since joining the office.

There is a great support network at the NAO to help you adjust to your increased responsibility. Throughout your training contract, you will receive lots of training and financial audit updates. Our in-house technical experts, the practice and quality team, produce of quick guides on how to audit various areas of the accounts.

It is useful to know what kind of work a trainee does for the interviews and assessment centre, as well as making sure it’s definitely what you want to do. For more information about financial audit, have a read of my colleague, Michael’s, post about final audit.

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