Job doneNow is an exciting time for financial audit teams, as most of us are wrapping up our work and getting our final accounts signed by the Comptroller & Auditor General, ready for Parliament recess next week. The end is in sight for another year! For those of us who have led an audit for the first time it is not only the end of the peak audit season but also the culmination of a challenging learning process that goes with the responsibility of leading an audit.

Most graduate trainees will be given an audit to lead in the third year of the NAO training scheme and some will lead an audit as early as their second year. This is very valuable experience and helps to prepare trainees for the step up to Audit Principal once the training contract is complete.

The role can be very demanding as both the client and your NAO manager and director will expect you to update them regularly on the issues that emerge and also the relevant guidance and standards that underpin any changes or recommendations to be made. There are also project management and reporting aspects that are a new experience when leading for the first time.

However, the Office provides plentiful support to help you cope with these challenges. There is formal training, as James mentioned in his earlier post, but there is also a wide community of colleagues who have been in the same situation recently and are more than happy to help. In addition, the central Practice and Quality team is on hand to provide expert interpretation of standards and guidance where needed.

So while it may seem daunting at first and at stages along the way, the support is available to get you safely through your first lead and when the audit work is complete, the accounts have been signed and delivered to the client it’s time to step away from the spreadsheets and (hopefully) out into the sunshine!

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