What are the roles of auditors

Auditor - What is an auditor?

An auditor performs all types of business audits for a company, such as auditing annual financial statements.

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An auditor is subject to a variety of tasks in a company: He controls the proper accounting of a company and checks the annual financial statements and management report.

Who can call themselves an “auditor”?

The auditor is a freelance profession according to §1 II WPO (Wirtschaftsprüferordnung). The professional supervision is incumbent on the Wirtschaftsprüferkammer.

Auditors can only be named if they can demonstrate their personal and professional qualifications. The legally protected designation "Wirtschaftsprüfer" is to be used in the profession.

Training as an auditor

The training to become an auditor comprises the following three stages:

  1. University degree
  2. Professional practice
  3. Auditing (auditor exam)

A university degree is a prerequisite for becoming a certified public accountant. The field of study can be freely chosen, but a degree in economics is recommended, as the technical proximity is greatest here.

In addition to studying, every prospective auditor must be able to demonstrate sufficient professional experience - usually at least 3 years. The salary of an auditor varies based on experience.

Finally, an examination at the Chamber of Public Accountants has to be passed. Only then can you work as an auditor (and also call yourself that).

Field of activity of an auditor

An auditor's job is to carry out business audits, especially annual audits of companies. In doing so, he is obliged to issue an auditor's report on the result of the audit.

Furthermore, the auditor can assist the company with tax questions, although a tax advisor is often used here. He can also advise the company on economic matters.

Other activities are also compatible with the profession of auditor, such as free professional practice in the field of technology, law or education.

Professional duties and rights are set out in the Wirtschaftsprüferordnung. §57 III WPO also allows the Wirtschaftsprüferkammer to issue statutes on duties and rights.

Professional duties of an auditor

The auditor is subject to certain professional duties:

1. Auditor independence

The auditor must practice his profession independently. This is one of the top priorities for an auditor. Independence includes both internal and external independence.

Internal independence is understood to mean one's own attitude, i.e. the auditor should only consider matters that lead to the fulfillment of the present audit. The auditor should check impartially.

External independence means that the auditor can carry out his audit in an objective and subjective manner without being disturbed by extraneous influences.

2. Impartiality: Auditors must be neutral

The auditor must behave impartially. An auditor is required to be absolutely neutral, which must be reflected in his report. Important facts must not be disregarded. The auditor is prohibited from unfair advertising.

3. Confidentiality of the auditor

The company undergoing the audit must be able to trust the auditor. The auditor must be able to count on the secrecy of the auditor, as the auditor has access to all important business documents.

4. Conscientiousness: Auditors are bound by law

Auditors are bound by the law and they have certain regulations that they must adhere to. A client may only be accepted if the auditor also has the necessary specialist knowledge.

5. Personal responsibility: Auditors have to make judgments on their own

An auditor alone has to make a judgment and has to make decisions alone. He must not be subject to instructions that contradict this principle.

6. Professional conduct of the auditor

An auditor must behave as his job requires. He must be aware of his duties and rights.

Auditors are obliged to use a seal when they make statements or carry out audits. In addition, auditors who carry out final controls must undergo quality control every three years.

Breach of duty by an auditor

An auditor who disregards and violates his duties will be initiated by professional judicial measures.

Penalties for breach of duty include:

  • Fines
  • Prohibition of professional practice from one to five years
  • Exclusion as an auditor